Arts

Things to Do

The Weekender: ‘The Lion King,’ rock royalty, and one fierce queen

A rendering of Doug Aitken's New Horizon (2019).
Courtesy of The Trustees
A rendering of Doug Aitken’s “New Horizon,” which will appear around the area this weekend.

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Hey there Weekenders! 

Looks like it’ll be a muggy one out there this weekend. So no matter what you do, take some precautions. As Globe correspondent Dave Epstein points out (because nobody believes anything anymore): “Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real things.” 

This means that in addition to whatever fun we agree on below, your plans should also include drinking lots of water, donning appropriately large floppy straw hats, and refraining from snapping at other, equally uncomfortable people. (Preferably all three!) 

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And if that doesn’t beat the heat, I’ve got this ice cube trick that I’m not sure I want under my byline, so actually forget I said anything. Where were we? Ah yes, the weekend!

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FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL: Wherever artist Doug Aitken’s mirrored airborne orb touches down, cool things happen. One of them is the orb itself — which is actually a high-falutin’ (and flyin’) hot-air balloon, making a “modern road trip” under the moniker New Horizon. Presented by the Trustees, this lofty spectacle carries with it a mission that’s surprisingly down to earth, according to Globe art critic Murray Whyte: “It becomes the centerpiece for hopeful conversations and performances about, ideally, a more connected world.” And when it lands at the Holmes Reservation in Plymouth on Friday (for a rescheduled date) it will also be the centerpiece for a “light spectacle” and sunset concert from Mac DeMarco and Lonnie Holley. On Saturday, it hovers above the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, which hosts a 5 p.m. conversation between the Globe’s Jeneé Osterheldt and MIT Technology Review editor Gideon Lichfield, and sunset sets from Julie Byrne, Julianna Barwick, and Mary Lattimore. Then on Sunday, it alights upon Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich for a 6 p.m. talk on “The Future of Identity” and music from Barwick and the incredible Moses Sumney. (Westies in Field Farm and Naumkeag, next weekend is your turn.) Find more info and tickets here.

CGI FRIDAY: The good news is that the fur and feathers look so real. The bad news is that “The [rebooted] Lion King” makes for a “surprisingly tame” return to the savanna (albeit louder), with an “obsession with photrealism” that may have you “longing for the freedom afforded by simple lines and pixels,” according to the two-star review from Globe correspondent Nora McGreevy. The star-studded stampede of celebrity voices — including Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, Beyoncé, John Oliver, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen — brings the tried-and-true (well, maybe not so true) tale to some kind of life, but don’t expect much animal magnetism. Now screening.

SOUTH FROM HERE: Director Lynn Shelton (“Humpday,” “Laggies”) returns with “Sword of Trust” a “nothing if not novel” comedy of (glaring historical) errors co-written with Mike O’Brien and starring “WTF” podcast host Marc Maron. Globe critic Mark Feeney gives it three stars, writing that while this detour into what one character deems “ ‘Antiques Roadshow’ for racists” bears “a passing resemblance to Christopher Guest’s improvised comedies,” it does showcase “a dogged weirdness all its own, a singularity that extends to Maron having written the excellently jangly score.” Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins, Jillian Bell, Toby Huss, and Shelton herself are along for this weird little ride. Now screening.

GOING THE DISTANCE: And last but not least at the movies this weekend is the “warm embrace of a human comedy” that is “The Farewell,” which Globe film critic Ty Burr gives 3½ stars and says is “written and directed like a homecoming by the Chinese-American filmmaker (and Boston College alumna) Lulu Wang,” and “features a lovely and unaffected central performance by Awkwafina.” That last bit might be a slight curveball if you remember Awka from her comic rasp (see: “Crazy Rich Asians”) or raps (see: “My Vag”). A story of life, death, and what family means when it’s far away, it also feels close to home: “Like her heroine, Wang straddles the fence and argues from either side of it; like her, the movie is profoundly Chinese-American, speaking to both audiences and able to be enjoyed by both.” Now screening.

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PARK IT (I): “It’s a wonderful fairy tale,” says director Fred Sullivan Jr. of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s free Shakespeare on the Common production of “Cymbeline.” Heads up: It’s also kind of a weird one, Willie-wise: It’s a tragi-comic, semi-romantic, gender-fluid fever dream featuring defiant princesses, murderous kings, feral brothers, headless bodies, and (I can see you getting excited) zero dragons. (There is, however, a Jupiter cameo.) There’s lots of characters, it’s a little confusing, and it’s not his best work; but it’s also engaging, slightly otherworldly, and weirdly charming. So it’s kind of like Shakespeare’s “Magnolia,” just without the frogs falling from the sky. (Oh, on that note, be sure to check the forecast.) It’s on Boston Common through Aug. 4. More info here.

The Stooges' Iggy Pop.
Julie Kramer
Iggy Pop is among the rock stars whose photos appear in “The Basement Archives: The Ghosts of WFNX, Volume II.”

YOUR BEST SHOT: Seasoned Boston rock fans owe a share of their tinnitus to scene staple and ex-FNX disc jockey Julie Kramer, whose longtime presence on air as an advocate for the power of rock ’n’ roll was apparently only matched by her furtive fervor behind the lens. Who knew, but over the decades in the front row, Kramer snapped an exhibition’s worth of portraits and live-concert shots of artists including Debbie Harry, Kurt Cobain, the B-52s, Joe Strummer, Paul Westerberg, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore, and Bjork. And over 100 of them are on view at the Boston Center for Adult Education as part of “The Basement Archives: The Ghosts of WFNX, Volume II.” You can RSVP for Saturday’s free opening reception here, or catch the show at the BCAE anytime (during business hours) through December.

HIS MAJESTY: And shh, low key, one of the sleeper shows of the week is this one: At City Winery on Friday, you can catch an intimate gig with founding Blaster and elsewise roots-rock hero Dave Alvin, who is back on the road (and onstage with Greg Leisz and Christy McWilson) celebrating the silver anniversary of his solo breakthrough, 1994’s “King of California” — one of those timeless stretches of perfect highway songs that could have been released five minutes or five decades ago. Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I’d do this. Tickets here.

GOOD COMPANY: Dance lovers should shake a leg to Becket, where it’s a busy weekend at Jacob’s Pillow. Through the weekend you can catch the US debut of London-based company Umanoove/Didy Veldman, which presents a new work, “The Happiness Project,” described by Globe contributor Karen Campbell as “an intricate, physical, and theatrical full-length work for four dancers, created in collaboration with celebrated violinist-composer Alexander Balanescu” (who will appear as well). You can also catch performances by the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group, joined by its Music Ensemble (Satie fans, take note!), as well as a pair of free Inside/Out performances from Teelin Irish Dance Company (Friday), and the Contemporary dancers from the School at Jacob’s Pillow (Saturday). Find performance times and tickets here.

PARK IT (II): And if you can’t make it all the way out west this weekend, take advantage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s “Tanglewood in the City” telecast on Boston Common on Friday. A live video feed from the BSO’s modest summer cottage will broadcast the BSO’s all-French program of pieces by Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Ravel, Betsy Jolas, and whomever mistakes the setup for an elaborate public karaoke opportunity. Show up early for casual summer fare on the park, and bust out a dazzling picnic spread for a chance to win prizes from judges Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery, Graham Lockwood of Oak Long Bar + Kitchen, and Ming Tsai of Blue Dragon. More info here.

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RUSSIAN DOLL: And lastly from the outside world, a long-overdue upgrade for Boston’s own Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, a.k.a. Katya, one of the fiercest queens ever to stomp down the runway (several times) of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The self-described “sweatiest woman in show business” has taken a step up from the cabaret stage of Jacque’s, where she first cut her teeth (and snagged her tights), to the more properly proportioned platform of the Wilbur for her sensational one-woman show, “Help Me I’m Dying.” And yes, of course Friday night’s show is already sold out, babushka; but as any drag queen will tell you, when it doesn’t seem like you’ll fit, you find a way to make it fit. More info here.

OR STAY IN! The “Big Little Lies” finale is on Sunday, and since I respect you people too much to lie to you, I’m going to tell you that I haven’t watched a frame of this series and have already been reprimanded by the gay authorities for Willful Neglect of Laura Dern. I continue to pay my price to society and will spend this weekend playing catch-up, with interest, until Sunday sets me, and presumably all of you, free. That’s at 9 p.m. on HBO. 

FILE - In this image provided by NASA, astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. Television is marking the 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969, moon landing with a variety of specials about NASA's Apollo 11 mission. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP, File)
Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP/File
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is being marked on multiple programs Saturday.

For more universal appeal, Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and just as Neil Diamond predicted, it was a giant leap for television specials. (Whoa, why are you looking at me like that?) Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert has assembled a short-list for moon buffs of Apollo programming with the right stuff.

And who am I kidding, I’ll just be bingeing the new season of Queer Eye on Netflix and crying all weekend. (Sorry “Big Little Lies.” I’ll have a long flight soon.)

And that, hopefully properly hydrated Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the tank this week. Stay cool out there, and however you spend your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

See you next time!

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