Things to Do in Boston This Weekend

Concerts, films, comedy, and more.

dancing with the stars

Photo courtesy Dancing with the Stars



The End of TV

This experimental theater piece from Manual Cinema takes us back to the 1990’s, exploiting and undermining our nostalgia for the age when TV and its ads, not social media sites, were the preferred opium of the masses. We meet a pair of women in a declining midwestern city. Once, they were class enemies, but as their city’s economy eat itself alive, they have more in common than not, while the glowing tubes of TV keep portraying a preposterously different reality.

$20-$80, through January 27, Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston


American Repertory Theater presents the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s modern-dress take on Othello. Although Shakespeare wrote the tragedy about three centuries before W.E.B. DuBois coined the term “double consciousness”,,that’s what the Moorish-Venetian Othello seems to suffer from as he is treated by his white countrymen both as a war hero and a national threat. When Iago appears, seemingly motivated by evil alone, he could almost be a figure of Othello’s own poisonous confusion.

$25-$125, through February 9, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge


Jim Colliton

“I always notice everyone is looking for their soul mates,” says Jim Colliton in recording from 2015. “I’ve been married 19 years and realized, my soul? Not that important anymore.” There’s nothing “edgy” or “quirky” about Colliton, who chooses instead to play a regular guy, just a husband and a dad who loves his family and turns life’s little irritations into comedy—primarily, one imagines, to preserve his own sanity—and we’re all the fringe beneficiaries.

$20, Friday and Saturday, Nick’s Comedy Stop, 100 Warrenton St., Boston


The Scarlet Ibis

The Boston Opera Collaborative, in partnership with the Longy School of Music and Bard College, brings us this adaptation of a 1960 Southern Gothic short story by James Hurst about a disabled boy, Doodle, whose brother is determined to turn him into a “normal human being”. The intimate chamber opera is performed with a 9-member orchestra, and integrates a bit of puppetry into the proceedings.

$25-$35, through Sunday, Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Cambridge

Image provided


The Boston Festival of Films from Iran

All nationality-based film festivals provide a fascinating glimpse into modern life and perspectives in another culture, but getting to see a place like Iran—frequently condemned in our media for its government and mostly not mentioned otherwise—is even more intriguing. Even a quick look at this festival’s offerings reveals a much more complicated and interesting place than we typically hear about.

$13, through January 27, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

Image provided

Ottawa International Animation Festival

The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the oldest and most prestigious in North America, with a well-earned reputation for boosting radical innovators in the form, and support from such mainstream powerhouses as Disney, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon. That said, don’t suppose this stuff is for kids—one award-winning short you’ll see here is called My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes, for instance, and the films cover the whole range of human experience.

$10, through Sunday, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

dorrance dance

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Dorrance Dance

Choreographer Michelle Dorrance has brought her troupe to Boston many times to showcase her progressive vision of tap—at style that, in the public imagination, often still resides exclusively in pre-WWII movies. Dorrance Dance will have a live band accompanying them on Myelination and they’ll be performing two other works, Jungle Blues and Three to One, for the first time in Boston.

$40-$65, Friday and Saturday, Cutler Majestic Theater, 219 Tremont St., Boston


The Boston Globe Travel Show

If you plan on gettin’ outta Dodge the year, you might do yourself well to stop by this three-day event. Aside from the requisite booths set up by airlines and cruise lines and the like, they’ll have a cultural stage with talks from travel writers, a culinary stage to tempt your tongue’s sense of adventure, and a beer garden, because there’s always a beer garden.

$10-$15, Friday through Sunday, Seaport World Trade Center, 1 Seaport Ln., Boston


Boston Celtic Music Festival

Local Celtic music fans already know this is one of the major local events of the year, taking over Harvard Square for four days. An annual highlight is the Urban Ceilidh on Friday night, a spin on the traditional Celtic dance party—no dance knowledge required. The bulk of the musical performances take place at the Dayfest on Saturda, with 15 different shows split between Club Passim and the Sinclair. Finally, a brunch with live music wraps things up on Sunday morning.

$10-$45, through Sunday, various Harvard Square venues, Cambridge



Theater of War

Argentine filmmaker Lola Arias revisits the oft-forgotten Falklands War of 1982 in this unusual documentary. Arias recruited three veterans from each side of the conflict (Argentine and British) to discuss their experiences, but also to participate in a reenactment. The result was a play, Minefield, which debuted in 2016 and is currently touring the United States. Arias will appear after the screening for a discussion.

Free with RSVP, 7 p.m., Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston


Dancing with the Stars Live!

As guilty pleasures go, you could do a lot worse than Dancing with the Stars, which combines celebrity worship with a campy but rare TV spotlight professional dancers. Indeed, often it’s the pro dancers, and not their celeb partners, who seem to be the real stars, and this touring production, choreographed by the show’s Emmy-winning Mandy Moore, focuses on them. But it’s still hosted by The Bachelor’s Grocery Store Joe, ‘cause you gotta have someone who’s famous for being famous.

$54-$84, 7:30 p.m., Boch Center Wang Theater, 270 Tremont St., Boston



Danish electronic pop singer MØ drew comparisons to Grimes when she came on the international scene in 2012, which seems kind of lazy of the music mavens. If anything, she’s more of a foil to Grimes, a much tougher and bolder presence in her vocals and beats, choosing anthemic directness over mysterious, high-pitched allure. Her second full-length, Forever Neverland, just dropped in October.

$28, 7 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston

Vertical Horizon

Vertical Horizon’s edgy-yet-smooth 1999 hit “Everything You Want” perfectly captured the melancholy of Gen X careening into adulthood. In the futuristic video, mysterious frontman Matt Scannell was a strange mixture of Billy Corgan and Steve Jobs—it was pure zeitgeist. Since then, Scannell and co. have kept their commitment to cerebral pop/rock. Their most recent album, The Lost Mile, dropped last February, featuring a track co-written with, randomly enough, Richard Marx.

$25-$40, 7 p.m., City Winery Boston, Boston