Best of the Week: Our Picks for October 12-16, 2015

This week, visit the MFA for free, see David Sedaris, and behold Fort Point’s giant floating sheep.

Welcome to Best of the Week, our recommendations for what to check out around town this week. If you’re wondering what to do in Boston this week, check out these events.

Monday, October 12
Opening Our Doors

Sure, you could spend this Columbus Day holiday loafing around watching Netflix in your undies. Or you could spend it soaking up some of the city’s top cultural delights—for free. For their annual Opening Our Doors event, a host of Boston’s best museums and attractions—including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—are beckoning you to come on in and gawp at their latest and greatest works. Always wanted to see the three-story stained-glass spectacle that is the Mapparium? Now’s your chance. Just put on some pants first.

Free, October 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. throughout the Fenway neighborhood. For more info, go to

Hazel Larsen Archer, Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn and Robert Rauschenberg. Photo courtesy ICA and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Hazel Larsen Archer, Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn and Robert Rauschenberg. Photo courtesy ICA and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Tuesday, October 13
“Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957”

How did Asheville, North Carolina, get to be the wonderland of weirdness that we know and love today? A big part of it is that some 80 years ago, a group of educators followed their artistic divining rod to the region, and established the Black Mountain College. There, synesthesia ruled the curriculum, where music, dance, film, theater, and visual arts swirled together in one big happy mess. Even in its short 24-year lifespan, the small school and its radical utopian ideals managed to attract a formidable faculty (including Buckminster Fuller, Willem de Kooning, and Josef Albers), and produced a whole generation of interdisciplinary thinkers who would have a profound effect on the postwar artistic landscape. And this week, those ideas are being brought to life at the ICA (a local innovator unto itself): As part of latest exhibit “Leap Before You Look,” Harvard students will be heading into the gallery to set up a dance stage and a grand piano, and experimenting with dance ideas created by choreographer and BMC alum Merce Cunningham.

“Leap Before You Look” is on display through January 24, 2016. See Harvard students perform Cunningham’s work October 13 and 15. Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-478-3100,

David Sedaris

David Sedaris photo via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, October 14
David Sedaris

David Sedaris has come a long way from the self-loathing department store elf subjected to cheerful yuletide humiliation in “SantaLand Diaries,” which got its big public radio break in 1992. But one thing hasn’t changed: He’s always a stranger in a strange land, an outsider trying to make sense of his surroundings, whether it’s in his native North Carolina or all the way across the pond in rural England, his current home. His latest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” has him turning his perpetually (and endearingly) glum eye on his newly adopted nation—and the results are as entertaining as you’ve come to expect from the NPR darling. “Sedaris could write about flossing his teeth and you’d be embarrassed by how hard you were laughing,” the Telegraph wrote in a recent book review. Get a dose of his doom-and-gloom humor at this week’s Celebrity Series show.

$45-$60, October 14, 8 p.m., Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. For tickets and more info, call 617-482-6661 or visit

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet / Photo by JohanPersson

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet / Photo by JohanPersson

Thursday, October 15

National Theatre Live: Hamlet

This week, one of nerddom’s greatest heartthrobs takes on one of literature’s greatest tragic heroes, as Benedict Cumberbatch transforms into the role of Hamlet for National Theatre Live’s staging of the Shakespeare play—a performance that has been racking up raves from all corners of the globe. Your chance to see Cumberbatch’s rendition of the Bard is screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, both on the night of the live performances, with encores throughout the year (with other locations as well). To Benedict or not to Benedict? Well, that shouldn’t really be a question at all.

$20, Screens October 15 and 29 and December 3, 14, and 21, Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-734-2500, For more information about the play and additional screening locations, see

Who Wears Wool

See Hilary Zelson’s Who Wears Wool at the 2015 Fort Point Open Studios

Friday, October 16
Fort Point Open Studios

Rainbow bridges, zentai-suited mannequins trapped in giant hamster balls, floating ziggurats, aquatic sheep—you’re apt to see some mighty odd things popping up in the Fort Point Channel this time of year. No need to be alarmed, though—it’s just the creativity that’s normally cooped up inside the old former industrial spaces lining the South Boston-adjacent neighborhood spilling out into the streets for their annual artists’ open studios. Highlights for this year’s festivities include new public art installation Who Wears Wool, giant floating sheep that pay tribute to Fort Point’s textile-trade history, and “Electric Pilgrims,” a night of “immersive projection” that will light up buildings, Illuminus-style.

Free, October 16-18. For participating locations and schedule, visit