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Hey there Weekenders! Place your bets: What are the odds that you’ll see me doing my best Mr. Jackpots impression at Encore when it opens on Sunday? That would be a big fat zero. I’m sure the place is lovely, but I still haven’t figured out tic-tac-toe, let alone blackjack. For all you high rollers out there pressing your luck in Everett this weekend, I can offer you but one can’t-lose tip: Don’t drive.
For the rest of you, this weekend’s spread of gotta-do’s is far less of a gamble. We’ve got a four-star “Toy Story,” a helping of Hannah Gadsby, and some wild dance parties — because dice aren’t the only things that benefit from a good shake.
All right. Let’s roll.
TOYS R THEY: Globe film critic Ty Burr is fully wound up over “Toy Story 4,” a “hugely entertaining and emotionally resonant pleasure for audiences of all ages” that scores four stars. “Funny, fast, thematically profound in ways not usually associated with pixels,” he writes, “the movie reconfirms the ‘Toy Story’ series as the gold standard for Pixar, Disney, and modern animated entertainment. Throw in most of popular culture if you’re of a mind.” Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and Keanu Reeves — this thing is not playing around. Now screening.
SYMPATHY FOR THE BASSIST: According to Burr’s two-star review, Oliver Murray’s new film about Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman serves as “proof that even average blokes can be rock stars,” as well as a reminder of why “they rarely make a documentary about the bass player.” “The Quiet One” is what it suggests on the tin, a “congenial, self-effacing, and reasonably dull” stretch of lukewarm Wyman-on-Wyman action: “Don’t come to ‘The Quiet One’ for insights on the Stones legend,” he writes, “or the niceties of rhythm sections or even much about Mick and Keith and dear, departed Brian Jones,” which I’m sure leaves something of value to Stones fans. Honestly, most of the time I’m just there for the Junior Mints. Now screening.
DOIN’ IT IN THE PARK: Some 2,000 artists applied to perform at this year’s second annual Boston Arts and Music Soul Festival (a.k.a. BAMS), and a fierce 19 made the cut, including rapper Luke Bar$, funk/soul collective The American Symphony of Soul, rapper (and Boston Answering organizer) Cliff Notez, New England-based Brazilian dance troupe SambaViva rapper Red Shaydez, harpist Brandee Younger’s quintet, and headliner Eric Roberson. In addition to music and dance, there will be games (there’s an open Bring Your Own Game policy), food trucks, visual arts, and all kinds of family-friendly fun. It runs from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday at Franklin Park’s Playstead Field, and you can nab a free ticket by registering here.
WORK IN PROGRESS: If you took our tip to take in the deCordova New England Biennial, you likely spotted work of Jordan Seaberry, a painter-turned-community-organizer-turned-painter, who also serves as director of public policy at Providence’s Nonviolence Institute. This weekend, and through July 27, you can catch Seaberry’s first solo show, “We Speak Upon the Ashes,” which brings together what the 29-year-old artist considers “two threads in the same practice.” “His large-scale, imagistic mixed-media paintings address systemic injustice, family wounds, and moving forward,” writes Globe contributor Cate McQuaid. “His process on canvas, like community organizing, is incremental, the outcome unpredictable.” “We Speak Upon the Ashes” is on view at Steven Zevitas Gallery in the South End. Find more info here.
A WOMAN’S WORTH: This weekend at the Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, you can see a new work from the Huntington Theatre’s adventurous playwright-in-residence Melinda Lopez, whose “Sonia Flew” was the theater’s first show when it opened 15 years ago, and who returns with her own lyrical adaptation and translation of Federico García Lorca’s 1934 play “Yerma.’’ Globe theater critic Don Aucoin calls it an “absorbing dreamscape” and “a slender but insightful work that examines the limitations on a woman’s life and the consequences that can flow from those limitations” — though Lopez herself (who has also stepped in as an actress to cover for an ill cast member) doesn’t seem too concerned with limits. “Yerma” runs at the Wimberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, through June 30, and you can find tickets here.
PUNCH LINES: The comedian who ruled comedy by quitting it was only kidding — kinda. The genre-busting ride of Hannah Gadsby’s 2018 breakthrough “Nanette” landed in America like an uppercut thrown from down under. And now she’s back for round two with a brand new show — this one’s named “Douglas” — that “touches on everything from art history to autism.” After a two-date stint at the Shubert, you can catch Gadsby giving it one last go on Friday at the Emerson Colonial Theatre. “This show,” she told Globe contributor Nick A. Zaino III, “I’m trying to see how far along an audience is willing to come with a different thinker, without me trying to necessarily accommodate their comfort.” (And she’s not talking about the thermostat, y’all.) Find tickets here.
GOOD CLEAN FUN: If, on the other hand, you very much enjoy having your comforts accommodated, there’s Paula Poundstone, who has spent decades onstage (as a veteran stand-up comedian), on the air (as a regular presence on NPR’s “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!”), and on the page (see: “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness”) making the wholesome refreshingly awesome. On Friday night she comes to the Chevalier Theatre in Medford. Tickets here.
MOVERS, SHAKERS: Summer’s here, and if my sources are correct, the time is right for dancing in the street — which really works out perfectly because the Dance Complex in Cambridge is throwing its annual Festival of Us, You, We & Them (i.e. everyone but you know who) this weekend. It’s a three-day open house Friday to Sunday that fills the storied studios of the Central Square community institution and spills out onto the patio. Check the full schedule of free classes, tours, discussions, workshops, and demonstrations here — and promise me you will be careful with that flossing move your kid taught you. I swear you are gonna poke someone’s eye out. More info here.
NEW TRICKS: The annual Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice is “an 8-day intensive seminar on the performance of 20th and 21st century music.” But it’s also a breathtakingly badass string of adventurous performances (lovingly known as “Sick Puppy”) helmed by the Callithumpian Consort, overtaking several venues (including Jordan Hall and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), and culminating in an all-day “Iditarod” performance (at New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall on Saturday). You can find a full schedule of performances through the weekend here, and click here to reserve the required free tickets.
OR STAY IN: Not gonna lie to you (WOULD NEVER DO THAT), but there’s really not much fresh and new that’s worth watching on the tube this week. Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert concurs and has instead helpfully assembled a most bingeworthy list of series worth catching up on (primarily so you can finally stop lying to everyone at work, because they can all tell).
Alternatively, you can join Gilbert, me, and millions of others with no plans Westerosi or otherwise as we tune into the BET Awards on Sunday at 8 p.m. I will be watching so I can see Lil Nas X perform and gag over whatever fabulousness Cardi B has on, but also because as Gilbert rightly points out, award shows are all the absolute worst and thus must be closely watched and monitored by, frankly, heroes who walk among us.
And that, lucky Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the cards this weekend. (Just bluffing, here’s a little bonus for the bookworms: the Lesley University Summer Reading Series runs all weekend, with free readings from Michael Lowenthal, Janet Pocorobba, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Barry Brodsky, and Rachel Manley. Find more info here.)
Whatever hand you deal yourself this weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.
See you next time!Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.