Things to Do in Boston This Weekend
The American Repertory Theater presents the U.S. premiere of this play by Inua Ellams that globe-trots through the African barbershops of the U.K., South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Ghana. As different as these places are, they’re all spaces for candor and camaraderie, where a man can address much more than just his need for a haircut—but also, just like a haircut, what he gets might not be what he came for.
$25-$75, through January 5, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge
People who aren’t from popular resort areas like the Cape and Islands naturally wonder what they’re like in the winter. Who’s keeping an eye on all those empty summer houses? This play begins with a summer mansion in the Hamptons catching on fire mid-winter. We meet five year-round families—is one among them the arsonist?
$35, through Sunday, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, 949 Comm. Ave., Boston
In this hybrid lecture-performance, legendary dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp will discuss twenty of her silent works from the 60’s and 70’s, accompanied by photos and video, and members of her dance company will perform them. Tharp will also reveal selections from the hundreds of pages of drawings and notes she took down to craft these highly structured pieces.
$45-$65, Friday and Saturday, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston
We don’t have the time or inclination to tell you about all the different Nutcrackers happening this season, but we’d be remiss not to mention the one with all the badass breakdancing, and a lot more aside from that. This remixed version by Jennifer Weber, featuring twelve dancers, transposes the original’s setting to 1980’s Brooklyn, with only a DJ and an electric violinist as musical accompaniment.
$45-$134, Saturday and Sunday, Emerson Colonial Theater, 106 Boylston St., Boston
The Society of Arts and Crafts returns with its annual holiday sale, one of the city’s biggest of the year, with more than 175 participating artists and craftspeople—jewelry, art, furniture, clothes, and much more. Maybe you’ll find that special gift for whats-their-name, or yourself, but even if you don’t buy anything, the level of artistry all around will make you feel like you’re in a museum.
$15, Friday through Sunday, Hynes Convention Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston
Club Drosselmeyer is sort of a classic Oberon show for Christmastime: a 1940s-style cabaret makeover of The Nutcracker with a swing band, acrobats, magicians, dancers, an extremely porous fourth wall, and choose-your-own-adventure interactive elements. Of course, you can always hang back and enjoy the time-travel ambiance, but admit it: haven’t you always wanted to be a spy? At Christmastime? In the ’40s?
$59-$85, Sunday through December 21, Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge
WGBH DJ Brian O’Donovan is back with his annual celebration of music and dance from across the Celtic diaspora. Music director Seamus Egan welcomes guest performers including cellist Natalie Haas, Concertina player Brenda Castles, Canadian folk quarter the Fretless, singer Hannah Rarity and the vocal foursome Windborne. The Harney Academy of Irish Dance will return, as always, and also as always, there will be some extra surprises.
$25-$85, Friday through December 23, Cutler Majestic Theater, 219 Tremont St., Boston
It’s time again for some of Boston’s top design firms show of their work with a truly challenging material: cookies, candy, and pure sugar. Every year, the Boston Society of Architects hosts this charming display of delicious ingenuity, with Boston landmarks and other fanciful visions rendered in glorious gingerbread. Awards will be handed out at the reception on December 18.
Free, through December 31, Boston Society of Architects, 290 Congress St., Boston
Chappelle’s Show side-man and co-writer Donnell Rawlings, best remembered for his character Ashy Larry in the “World Series of Dice” sketch, headlines this benefit for the Perkins School for the Blind. Rawlings, who co-hosted the semi-complete third season of Chappelle, also played Day-Day on The Wire. His casually focused stand-up should appeal to Chappelle fans—it’s easy to see why he worked so well on that legendary series.
$28, 9:45 p.m., Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston
Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson rolls in on her sleigh to sing classic and original songs from her new album Songs for the Season, whose cover and production evoke the 1940s and 50s, the choicest era for Christmas tunes. If you’re the sort of person who posts pictures of your grandparents when they were young to Instagram and remarks about how cute they were, this show’s for you.
$35-$55, 6:30 p.m., Orpheum Theater, 1 Hamilton Pl., Boston
In this lauded Robert Altman film from 1977, Sissy Spacek plays a Southern ingenue, Pinky Rose, who moves to California and gets a job at a resort, where a co-worker, Millie (Shelly Duvall), takes her under her fairly toxic wing. But Millie doesn’t know what she bargained for. The screening is included as part of an MFA series of films which make notable use of a single color—in this case, yellow.
$13, 1 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston
If you missed it when it came out, here’s another chance to catch the highly-praised 2015 iPhone-shot dramedy Tangerine on a big screen. Director Sean Baker (The Florida Project) captures a side of Los Angeles. we don’t often see, and lead actors Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor deliver hilarious and tragic first-time performances. And weirdly enough, it takes place on Christmas Eve.
$12, 9:30 p.m., Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge
This British R&B singer has been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy, though she might be better off not winning—history’s shown it to be something of a curse. Drawing inspiration from 90’s and 00’s artists like Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, and Amy Winehouse, Smith, with her warmth and feeling, is a welcome counterbalance to the algorithmically-produced pop that litters the contemporary musical landscape.
$30-$45, 7 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston