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Howdy, Weekenders. Guess who is about to have the best weekend ever? Guess!
Well, dogs, for one. Do you know how much they hate fireworks? The answer, if only they could tell you themselves, is “so much.” But since setting off fireworks after the Fourth is like setting out in white pumps after Labor Day (i.e. punishable by fines or imprisonment), and what with all the cookout leftovers in the fridge, it’s shaping up to be a pretty solid weekend, dogwise.
And things aren’t looking so bad for you, either (provided that potato salad doesn’t overstay its welcome in the fridge). It’s a spectacular weekend of post-Fourth summer fun out there, and the only tanks you’ll see rolling by are these cute stripey ones I picked up at Zara.
Shall we? Yes, let’s.
LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER: Not to let you nosy, nosy, thousands into the details of this newsletter’s personal life or anything, but this past weekend I was in Los Angeles for my sister’s wedding to Chile’s top stand-up comedian (whom I’m told is very funny), and whilst perched up in a Laurel Canyon cottage overlooking the various oaks, eucalypti, and sage scrubs busy with little lizards, I listened twice through to a scratchy old copy of The Rolling Stones’ “Between the Buttons” and imagined them in 1969, just a year or so after it came out, waking up around sunset for breakfast a few streets over at what was Peter Tork’s place, and I was honestly a little shook by how much of the history of everything seems sewn into every second of this band’s music. Or as I expressed at the time, “Wow, man.” So should you go see the living, breathing Rolling Stones when they come to Gillette (for very possibly the last time ever) on the “No Filter” tour this Sunday? Steve Morse sure recommends you do. I’m thinking you should, too. Grab tickets here before it’s All Sold Out. (Also, the strain was like “pineapple [something].”)
WAIL WATCH: Please believe me that I didn’t intend for this to turn into some stoner thing, but 1.) such is life in Massychoo in the year 2019, and 2.) the simple fact is that Phish is coming to Fenway Park for two whole nights of searing, unbound, high-quality jamsmanship and yes, your hair will smell like a stranger’s van the next day. It’s been 10 years and several pieces of critical legislation since the band’s last appearance in the shadow of the Green Monster, but you bet your Birks they’ll be hitting all the hits, and I bet your Birks still fit just fine. (Can you tell that I do not know a single Phish song? I consider this a form of mastery on my part.) Tickets remain for Friday and Saturday night’s performances. Get them here.
WEB OF INTRIGUE: Oh good, another superhero movie, he typed loudly enough that his husband asked what was wrong from the next room. Lucky for him (i.e. me) “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” per the three-star review from trusty Globe film critic Ty Burr, is not actually a superhero movie. “It’s a wholesome teen comedy disguised as a superhero movie,” he writes. “ ‘Andy Hardy Goes Radioactive.’ ‘Archie and Jughead Save the Great Monuments of Europe.’ ‘Marvel Comics, 90210.’ Something like that.” Tom Holland returns for a second likably understated stint in the suit, alongside costars Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya (obsessed), Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, and (bonus gasp!) Marisa Tomei. OK, fine, I’ll go! (There aren’t any real spiders in this thing, right?) Now screening.
DAY TRIPPERS: If you’re looking for an uneasy 2½ hours surrounded by strange pasty people with weird stories and menace in their eyes, we unfortunately only have room for one or two more at my family’s cookout, so you may have to go see “Midsommar” instead. The “memorably creepy” latest offering from “New Horror” sensation Ari Aster — about a gaggle of vacationing millennials blithely stumbling into the solstice rituals of a remote Scandinavian cult-society-thing — is about as dark as broad daylight gets, and Burr gives it three stars, calling it “a poisoned ice pop for the coming dog days.” Florence Pugh (whom Burr calls “an actress willing to go the distance”) stars alongside Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, and Will Poulter (eek! “Bandersnatch”!). Now screaming.
CURE FOR PAIN: It’s been two decades since Boston lost the luminous lord of “low rock,” Mark Sandman — whose distinctively droll baritone and elastic two-string bass were just the nuts and bolts of what made his trio Morphine so enduringly iconic. On Friday, a gang of friends and collaborators (organized by Club D’Elf/Hypnosonics/and Boston Pops bassist Mike Rivard) come together for two back-to-back “20 Years Gone” tributes to Sandman, including Dana Colley, Tom Halter, Russ Gershon, Jerome Deupree, Larry Dersch, Jeremy Lyons, Jimmy Ryan, Duke Levine, Mike Rivard, Evan Harriman with Monique Ortiz, Ali McGuirk, and Christian McNeill. Advance tickets are sold out, but limited tickets may be available at the door.
CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: Shall we, to the west? If indeed we shall, check out Jonathan Payne’s “A Human Being, of a Sort” at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Starring André Braugher, directed by Whitney White, and based on a true story, it is about “an African-American convict who wrestles with questions of conscience, race, and power as he guards a Congolese pygmy (Antonio Michael Woodard) in the Bronx Zoological Park in the early 20th century,” according to Globe theater critic Don Aucoin, who included this world premiere production in his list of must-sees from the region this summer. It runs through Sunday; grab tickets here.
HELLO MUTTER: While you’re out that way, it’s a packed picnic basket of programming at Tanglewood. On Friday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra offers a Mozart piano concerto (with guest Emanuel Ax); on Saturday it takes on a Joan Tower fanfare, Anne-Sophie Mutter playing the violin concerto written for her by André Previn, and Dvorák’s ninth symphony (“From the New World”). And on Sunday, Mutter joins the Boston Pops in the Shed for a celebration of John Williams. Find tickets and full program information here.
REALITY CHECK: And don’t even think about driving back here without a stop at Jacob’s Pillow Dance, where David Roussève/REALITY presents “Halfway to Dawn,” its new homage to Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn. “Roussève’s movement has a muscular lyricism that is captivating to watch all by itself,” writes Globe dance contributor Karen Campbell. “But his company puts that to the service of vivid storytelling, incorporating text, video, and music.” It runs through Sunday at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket; find tickets here.
STERLING EXAMPLES: For a more reflective experience (in the literal sense), head to Providence for “Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970” at the RISD Museum — a collection of more than 600 gleaming objects from the local (and once largest) manufacturer of silver goods that, according to Globe contributor Cate McQuaid, also shines light on “the appetites of the wealthy in the Gilded Age and reminds us how museums, which historically have prized and stewarded objects of privilege and power, can represent a narrow version of American society.” Recommended if you like forks. It’s up through Dec. 1; find more info here.
FUNNY TO BURN: The best way to work off all of those hamburger buns and Budweisers is some concentrated ab work, but if your sincerely held beliefs prohibit you from doing crunches, laughter is the best fat burner (I think that’s the saying, anyway), and the Middle East Downstairs is a virtual pilates studio of the stuff when Uncle Sham’s Whimsdependence Day Comedy Fest takes over the subterranean joint for all of Friday and Saturday. The stacked lineup, led by Cris Machado, features Danny Killea, Chris D, Sara Robertson, Greg Olson, Allyn Allman, Alex Williams, Jai Demeule, Will Pottorff, Tim Oliver, Kelly Vernon, Trent Wells, Nikki Martin, Krister Rollins, Big D, Brian Higginbottom, and plenty more. Don’t forget to stretch (there are stairs involved) and grab tickets here.
OR STAY IN! Being real here, I kind of weaned myself off the stuff last season (so did Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert), but there’s a whole new third season of “Stranger Things” now available on Netflix, and if you’re looking for somebody to talk you out of spending several consecutive hours on the couch with a highly-stylized Winona Ryder, I’m not the one.
If you’re feeling like getting out in nature (while staying at home) check out “Enchanted Kingdom” coming to BBC America on Saturday at 9 p.m. As Gilbert put it: “Do you want to journey to Africa? Wait, let me rephrase: Do you want to journey to Africa with Idris Elba?”
And on Sunday, you can either join me as I submit another perfectly good brain-hour to “Big Brother” (I can stop anytime I want!), or you can do better and tune into “Stories of the Year” on FX. It’s a roundtable with this year’s winners of the Peabody Award, including Hasan Minhaj, “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals, and Terence Nance of “Random Acts of Flyness.” That’s on FX at 10:30 p.m.
And that, ever-independent Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the cooler for you this weekend. Have fun out there, keep the explosions to a minimum, and however you decide to spend your 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.