Things to Do

The Weekender: Lady Gaga, Trevor Noah, and Fenway Park tunes

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in "A Star is Born."
Neal Preston/Warner Bros
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star is Born.”

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Hello and Happy October, Weekenders!

As is this newsletter’s wont come the busy autumn months, I’ve been busy raking up a big pile of things to do. There’s some Gaga, some Redford, some Elton, and some pretty pictures. And the days are only getting shorter (sigh), so let’s jump right in. (Actually, there are probably bugs. Let’s just read it.)

STARLET EXPRESS: “We’re perfectly willing to come to a story we’ve heard before as long as its emotions can be made convincingly fresh,” writes Globe film critic Ty Burr this week. “That’s what happens here.” He’s talking about “A Star Is Born,” the hotly hyped remake of the classic showbiz saga starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (also making his directorial debut), which “pushes the reset button on one of our most primal bedtime stories” (i.e. the “sturdy bones of William Wellman’s and Robert Carson’s 1937 script”) and earns 3½ stars. Be sure to check out Meredith Goldstein’s chat with Dave Cobb, the dude behind the songs that make this film hang around in your head long after you leave the theater. Now screening.


WEST WHIRL: Maybe make an afternoon out of it and stick around for “The Sisters Brothers,” which Burr calls evidence that “we’d all be better off handing our westerns to Frenchmen” in his 3½-star review. Adapted from the 2011 novel by Patrick Dewitt, directed by Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet,” “Rust and Bone”) and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, and (“our generation’s Wallace Beery”) John C. Reilly, it’s a western with wandering eyes that showcases Audiard’s willingness “to get under the genre hood and start switching parts around.” Now screening.

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BANK ROBERT: For more men and guns (and a possible triple-feature, so pack a lunch) there’s also “The Old Man & the Gun,” an adaptation of David Grann’s popular New Yorker story on septuagenarian bank robber Forrest Tucker from director David Lowery, and a “wonderfully understated star vehicle” according to Globe critic Mark Feeney’s three-star review. Eighty-two-year-old Robert Redford makes his big-screen finale as 74-year-old Tucker (Feeney finds him, as usual, “easy to like” and “hard to engage with”) alongside Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek (whom Burr recently chatted up), Danny Glover, and “an uncharacteristically low-key” Tom Waits. Now screening.

30Noah Trevor Noah plays the Tsongas Center at UMASS Lowell October 5. Photo credit: Paul Mobley
Paul Mobley
Trevor Noah is at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday.

TREVOR TROVE: It took a couple years, but Trevor Noah finally seems settled into his seat at “The Daily Show” (and he’ll be there until 2022 at least, so let’s hope it’s comfy). Lucky for him, he gets up every once in a while from his Emmy-nominated show to stretch out and do a few stand-up dates here and there, like at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday (or at the Chevalier Theater in Medford in February if you’d rather experience current events in hindsight). And for a preview of Noah’s knack for processing the chaos of today in real time, check out his “Between the Scenes” segments on YouTube. Tickets here.

LA WOMAN: Elsewhere in LOLs comes Los Angeles comedian Cameron Esposito with her “Person of Consequence” tour, which comes to the Wilbur Theatre on Saturday. Comics are hard to describe so I just watch a few minutes and blurt out the first three words that surface. This time it was “Lesbian Bamford Kramer” — which, I should clarify, is a Totally Winning Combo for me. Esposito is a tornado of righteous rage onstage, and has one of the sharpest stand-up minds in the game. Her breakthrough recent stand-up special, “Rape Jokes,” is an hourlong dig (several senses) into her perspective as a survivor of sexual assault, and proof that she’s funny as hell, and not afraid to mine for laughs in dark places. (So maybe expect some break-up jokes. Frown emoji. Sorry, gurl.) Find tickets here.

BOSTON COLIN: On Friday, you can catch Boston’s favorite enduringly popular post-chamber-pop gang from the other coast, the Decemberists, as the band tours behind its latest album, “I’ll Be Your Girl,” as well as some noticeably thick eyeglass frames. That was a post-chamber-pop joke! Do yourself a favor and get there early for Boston’s own Marissa Nadler. She’s incredible. Tickets here!


STILL STANDING: You know that thing when you say goodbye at a party and three hours later you’re still saying goodbye at the party? Well, you can now call that “pulling an Elton,” as the original Rocket Man, Elton John, embarks on the first of a three-year saga of touring and appearances meant to cap his nearly 50-year career. He’s at TD Garden on Saturday night (with two additional stops — next month on Nov. 6 and next year on Nov. 15) and you can find tickets here.

ADAM BOMB: Tightening up the trousers a bit and shifting into falsetto territory, on Sunday at TD Garden you can share an intimate evening with Adam Levine and the rest of his Maroon 5 — because when do you ever get a chance to hear a Maroon 5 song? I’m guessing hardly ever. Did you know that researchers at MIT are working on AI that can understand sarcasm? I wonder if robots are capable of enjoying Maroon 5 genuinely, ironically, or at all? I wish I were a robot. Is this blurb over yet? Oh, thank heavens. Tickets here!

CONTROL FREQ.: If you love music and want to hear anything and everything, Boston University is hosting its first ever Global Music Festival at the Tsai Performance Center on Sunday with artists (and artisans) from around the world (like China’s Zhou Family Band and Jupiter & Okwess from the Democratic Republic of Congo). Find more info here. On the other hand, if you love music and want to hear one very specific thing, the Red Sox host Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday and Saturday, and you can totally tweet requests to organist Josh Kantor, who takes them off his Twitter feed during home games. I will mail 10 imperceptible dollars to whoever can get him to perform “4’33

ODD FIT: This weekend you can catch Steve Auger in Zeitgeist Stage Company’s production of Jon Robin Baitz’s scratchy political satire “Vicuña,’’ which finds Auger’s “darkly compelling” and vaguely familiar tycoon-candidate Kurt Seaman getting fitted for a suit and “ooz[ing] a swaggering sense of entitlement and an unwarranted self-satisfaction,” according to Globe theater critic Don Aucoin. Only you will know for sure if you’re laughing at him, or with him. (It’s at him.) “Vicuña” is onstage through Saturday at the Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. Grab — actually, let’s go with a different word — purchase tickets here.

NATURAL LIGHT: You can experience the great outdoors in the galleries of Worcester Art museum through Nov. 25 at “The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes From the New-York Historical Society.” Reviewer Cate McQuaid calls the exhibition a “lovely, small show of about 40 paintings” that serves as “a Cliff’s Notes version of the first quintessentially American style of painting.” Featuring painters like Thomas Cole, Asher Brown Durand, and Louisa Davis Minot, the show is both “a dream of America” and a love letter to its landscape. (And there’s not a single selfie.) Find more information here.

05AlbumReview PHOSPHORESCENT Handout
“C’est La Vie” is the new album from Phosphorescent.

OR STAY IN! According to reviewer Zoë Madonna, the new album from Matthew Houck (a.k.a. Phosphorescent) finds the songwriter has “officially entered the realm of dad rock.” Which makes sense, as “C’est La Vie” is the first record he’s released since becoming a father of two. “There’s real optimism in this music; the world already hurts enough, it seems to say.” (My dad used to tell me to just rub some dirt on it.)

Oh! And one more reminder to get your tickets for the GlobeDocs Film Festival (running Oct. 9-14 at select venues), and be sure to use the spiffy Weekender promo code (i.e. “Weekender”) to get $5 off tickets. You’re probably well accustomed to this newsletter giving you all kinds of suggestions, but here’s a rule: Never pay full price. Ever.

And that, folks, is all I’ve got in the proverbial biodegradable lawn & garden bag this week. However you decide to spend this first weekend of October, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. 

See you next week!

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