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The wind seems to have blown everything all over the place, but thankfully, the most important squares on the calendar appear to have remained intact. Yes, I’m talking about the weekend (seriously, what else do I ever talk/think about?).
If venturing outside doesn’t seem immediately like the best idea, fear not: This weekend’s weather looks pretty chill (both senses) and we’ve got three movies (with no less than three stars), a couple of plays, some drag, some dance, some Brahms, and even some (lowercase) turkey to keep you off the streets, and your hat on your head. Read on!
SOAK IT IN: Right about now seems like the perfect time to, say, sink to the very bottom of the sea. And what luck! Now through Oct. 27, you can plunge into the relentlessly cheerful underwater world of “The SpongeBob Musical” at the Boch Center Wang Theatre. Globe theater critic Don Aucoin calls the show a “joy machine” and an “exuberant acid trip of a musical [that] will be a decidedly love-it-or-hate-it proposition” depending on how salty you are. The “acrobatic and likable Lorenzo Pugliese” stars as the titular Porifera, and “has a disposition so relentlessly sunny he makes Pollyanna look like Samuel Beckett.” Find tickets here.
CLASS CLASH: Follow Globe film critic Ty Burr’s four stars straight to your seat in front of “Parasite,” the hotly anticipated return from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“Snowpiercer”), who “combines the cool virtuosity of a Hitchcock with the devilish social satire of Luis Buñuel” to create “his funniest, most biting, and bleakest work to date.” It’s both a “sly black comedy” and “a story of social hierarchy and what it does to people, a film about the upper classes, the lower depths, and maybe even the floors below that.” (It also took the top prize at Cannes this year.) Now screening at Kendall Square and Coolidge Corner.
HURTS SO GOOD: I probably do not need to alert devoted fans of Pedro Almodóvar that his latest film, “Pain and Glory,” is now screening. But after some iffy entries into his oeuvre (sorry, “I’m So Excited,” I just wasn’t that into you) I do feel compelled to alert you that 40 years in, Pedro’s still got it. Globe critic Mark Feeney gives three stars to this “understated” portrait of an aging film director (which could either be a reflection or a refraction of the auteur in question). “One of the quiet marvels of this understated yet often deeply moving film,” Feeney writes, “is how skillfully — which is to say unobtrusively — the filmmaker weaves together past and present.” As such, an ensemble of familiar faces light up the screen, including Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, and Penélope Cruz. It’s screening this weekend at Kendall Square. BYOT (tissues).
JUST THE TWO OF US: And should you require a three-movie weekend, set your course for “The Lighthouse,” a roiling, rocky, “lo-fi, high-impact” psycho-horror film from director Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), and starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as a pair of “wickies” (a.k.a. lighthouse keepers) seemingly abandoned on a seemingly enchanted (the bad way) rock — as well as within Eggers’s boxy, black-and-white vision. What comes out in the wash is something like a nightmarish buddy comedy, or as Globe film contributor Tom Russo says in his three-star review, “a masterful study of souls trapped on a rock alone, but also trapped together, with all the twisty complexities involved.” Bring a date! Now screening.
SET FREE: On Friday, as part of its Jazz50 series, New England Conservatory pays tribute to one of its star alumni, free jazz pioneer, pianist, and poet Cecil Taylor, who died last year at the age of 89. “Jazz Advance: The Legacy of Cecil Taylor” will feature performances by fellow alums Ran Blake, Bruce Brubaker (playing John Cage), Ethan Iverson, Matthew Shipp, and Dan Tepfer, as well as performances by Dominique Eade, Ruth Lepson, Joe Morris & his ensemble, and the NEC Jazz Orchestra playing works by Taylor and Steve Lacy. It’s free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Find them here. (And watch Taylor rip through “Octagonal Skirt and Fancy Pants” here (after a hell of an introduction).
POETRY IN MOTION: At the ICA on Friday and Saturday, you have a chance to catch Zimbabwe-born and Brooklyn-based choreographer-performer nora chipaumire’s latest work, “#PUNK 100% POP *N!&GA” — a challenging and invigorating mix of dance, the music and lyrics of Patti Smith, Grace Jones, and Rit Nzele (plus a set design by Ari Marcopoulos and Kara Walker) that will have you out of your seat. (No, really, she doesn’t do that stage/audience thing, so bring comfortable shoes.) Globe dance contributor Karen Campbell says, “ ‘#Punk’ has a raw, unfettered quality that pushes boundaries — and undoubtedly a few buttons.” Don’t miss this; grab tickets here.
DIVA FEVER: On Saturday, you can catch a riotous pair of performances from the riotous pairing of drag superstar Varla Jean Merman and Emmy-winning comedian and writer Judy Gold as the Huntington Theatre Company & Mark Cortale present “The Judy & Varla Show” at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion. “We’re kind of doing our old gays and old Jews act,” Gold told the Globe, “since we’ve both survived in the business, and neither one of us is bagging groceries — yet.” Gerald Goode mans the piano as these two indefatigable divas proverbially camp out on stage. Wear your best pearls for clutching and find tickets here.
DIG IN: At Boston Lyric Stage this weekend (and through Nov. 10) you can get an early serving of turkey(s) in the form of “The Thanksgiving Play,” a “sharp-edged” satire from playwright Larissa FastHorse, and, notes Globe contributor Christopher Wallenberg, “the first work by a Native American playwright to appear on American Theatre Magazine’s annual survey of the year’s most produced plays at regional theaters nationwide.” The comedy finds “a troupe of performers, writers, and teaching artists . . . valiantly straining to create a culturally sensitive ‘devised’ work of theater, aimed at an elementary school audience, that simultaneously celebrates the American national holiday while also honoring Native American Heritage Month.” Imagine a comically woke take on “Waiting for Guffman” and you’ll get a sense of what’s on the menu. It couldn’t be any more awkward than your actual family’s Turkey Day — actually I take that back. Find tickets here.
GET YOUR PHIL: If you haven’t experienced Benjamin Zander helming your experience of classical music, listen to his TED Talk on its “transformative power,” and then watch him lead the Boston Philharmonic through a program of Mozart (Overture to “The Magic Flute”), Brahms (Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring the spellbinding Italian pianist Alessandro Deljavan), and Bartok (Concerto for Orchestra) this weekend at Jordan Hall (on Saturday evening) and at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre (on Sunday afternoon). And get there early to hear Zander’s lucid and elucidating introduction to the program, which will be like getting fit with a fresh pair of ears. Find full program info and tickets here. (And hear former Globe chief critic Richard Dyer discuss the “incredible ear and imagination” of Deljavan here.)
AMERICAN GRAFFITI: And lastly from the outside world, one of the most important and instantly recognizable artists of the last century (and, I might add, the Weekender's personal favorite), Jenny Holzer , is the subject of a massive retrospective (on view through 2020) at Mass MoCA in North Adams. Holzer’s signature projections, LED signs, posters, and stunning paintings, sculpture, and prints — and their all-caps announcement of enduring “Truisms” like “ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE” and “PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT” — will scatter across the museum’s 61-acre campus. (Not to worry, she’ll have a bunch of her benches there too.) Find a full checklist of works on view (and a map of where to find them) here. And remember, EVERYONE’S WORK IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT — hers is just a little better.
OR STAY IN: Because whoa, that wind is wild. A less blustery option is parking it on the couch for “Modern Love,” a new Amazon anthology series from John Carney (of “Once” and “Sing Street”) fame, based on the popular New York Times romance column, and starring the likes of Anne Hathaway, Cristin Milioti, John Slattery, Tina Fey, Dev Patel, and “Mr. Hot Priest himself,” Andrew Scott. “While the eight half-hours of ‘Modern Love’ have the sparkling feel of urban romantic comedy,” writes Globe television critic Matthew Gilbert, “they’re about the very many faces of love out there in the world.” It arrives Friday on Amazon.
And if you like to end your Weekend with a nice case of unsettling dread, maybe check out the premiere of Damon Lindelof’s “remix” of the comic-book mainstay “The Watchmen” on HBO. “It’s set in an alternate 2019, under President Robert Redford, with white supremacists conflicting with cops in Oklahoma.” Hold on . . . I thought this was the alternate 2019. Anyhoo, that’s Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.
And that, windblown Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the forecast for you this time out. Hang on to your hats, keep an eye on the sky, and however you spend this weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.
See you next time!Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.