Things to Do This Weekend in Boston
Keep your weekend full with our roundup of fun events around Boston. And don’t miss our list of iconic things to do around Boston.
Weekend Events and Activities
In this time travel fantasy musical, Wes, a contemporary fashion designer, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, only to find himself whisked away to the 1970’s, when the building contained a popular gay bar. As he’s drawn back to the present day across nearly 50 years of gay history, he learns what’s been lost as well as gained, meeting all sorts of interesting characters along the way.
$25-$70, through June 22, Plaza Theater, 539 Tremont St., Boston
Transposing Puccini’s Madame Butterfly from 19th century Japan to the Vietnam War, the creators of Les Misérables, composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil, scored another hit for themselves in 1989. From the start, the musical has been dogged by accusations of orientalism which haven’t abated. You’ll have to make you your own mind there, but this production by director Laurence Connor definitely looks epic as all get out.
$20-$135, through June 30, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston
Connections Dance Theater, in collaboration with designed Aja Jackson, performs this dance installation reflecting on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Both topics have long since retired from the news cycle, but their resolutions did not come nearly as quickly or fully. The group aimed to create a space where, in their words, “movement, light, and sculptural elements create a visceral experience of empathy and hope.”
$20, Friday through June 23, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston
Alabama native Dusty Slay is comic of low-income life—he opened his Tonight Show set with sequence about the Goodwill—but, unlike the Blue Collar comics, whose fans might share his taste in trucker hats, he doesn’t care to exploit any kind of “redneck” identity. He’s much more detached and eccentric. With his knack for finding the surreal in the midst of banality, he’s almost a southern-twanged Mitch Hedberg, but he’s more lucid and wry—and that’s probably for the best.
$20, through Saturday, Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston
In this new French-Canadian thriller, Pierre-Paul, a former philosophy student struggling to make ends meet, finds himself in the middle of a bungled robbery, and before he knows it, millions in cash have basically fallen into his lap. But of course, that’s hardly the end of his troubles in this cautionary fable for the modern precarity economy. As the American economist Christopher Wallace put it: “Mo money mo problems.”
$11-$13, opens Friday, Kendall Square Cinema, 355 Binney St., Cambridge
Dance Currents, Inc. teams up with Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra for an evening of dance and music. The central piece of the dance segment, “For the Children”, portrays a family seeking asylum and suffering the loss of a child due to U.S. separation policies. Each of its six sections is set to music by Edvard Grieg. The music segment features work by Amy Beach, a pioneering woman composer of the late 19th/early 20th century.
$25, 8 p.m., Integrarte, 85 Seaverns Ave., Boston
In this mix of a kitschy revue and (almost) one man show, Mr. Brian Calhoon, clad at times in sparkling stilettos, runs through a set of guilty pleasure show tunes and pop on marimba and vibraphone, while also telling his own coming out story. Calhoon’s heartfelt vocals and subtle technique on mallet percussion can be transformative—his dark, lugubrious rendering of “Hey Ya”, for instance, is at once a very amusing subversion and a genuinely spooky vision of the song.
$22, 7 p.m., Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston
Rick Steves’ Europe is one of those semi-hidden gems of PBS TV, each episode a mellow, no-frills tour of some random European city by an endearing geek who knows all the really good spots, conveying the charming illusion of trans-oceanic travel without all its myriad stressors. His cult following, known as “Rickniks”, will love this concert, in which Steves will give a video-assisted lecture on some of classical music’s most iconic locales, accompanied, of course, by the Boston Pops.
$30-$96, 8 p.m., Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston
While you may not know him by name, eclectic Philadelphia singer-songwriter Bilal has worked with such big guns as Kendrick Lamar, Common, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and the Roots. He’s noted for his highly distinct, wide-ranging tenor voice, as well as his refusal to be pigeon-holed in terms of his sound. This creative purity has won him respect among musicians, as well as trepidation in the predictability-loving music industry. At this point, however, his fans know where to find him.
$50, 7 p.m., Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Roxbury
For those whose gothic moods are never altered by the arrival of warm weather, the Cambridge Symphony offers this program featuring Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which tells a story of obsessive love. A century later, Leonard Bernstein would declare its darkly surreal vibe—possibly opium-influenced—proto-psychedelic. Also on the program are The Oak by early 20th century black composer Florence Price, and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by Max Levinson.
$25, 8 p.m., Kresge Auditorium, 48 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Free Things to Do
Somerville Media Center screens this 2018 rom-com outdoors in celebration of Pride Month. Our hero, Simon, is a 17-year-old with two problems: how to come out to his family and friends, and figuring out who his anonymous Internet crush is. Oh wait, there’s a third problem: one of his classmates is trying to blackmail him by threatening to reveal his sexual orientation to everyone before he does. High school sucks! RSVP at the link above.
Friday, 7 p.m., Sylvester Baxter Waterfront Park, Assembly Row, Somerville
For Juneteeth, the Boston Lyric Opera teams up with Castle of Our Skins to present this concert in the Boston Public Library’s courtyard, celebrating, through operatic narrative, the lives of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes, and Paul Robeson, with music by contemporary black composers including Nkeiru Okoye, Adolphus Hailstork, Dorothy Rudd Moore, and Undine Smith Moore.
Free, Friday through June 19, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston
Free outdoor movies are ubiquitous in the summer in Boston and around the country—free outdoor baseball game screenings, not so much. But for six years, this event has given families a little taste of Fenway without the exorbitant ticket prices. Kids can meet Wally, take a swing in the batting cage, get their face painted, or ride the carousel for free. Many of the vendors who set up shop around the ballpark will be there. At 4:05, the Sox will play the Orioles on a 15-foot screen.
Free, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Boston Common, 139 Tremont St., Boston
Ah, the dad joke—like so many art forms, it can’t be precisely defined, but you know one when you hear one. It doesn’t have to come from a dad, and yet it seems to come most naturally to dads, especially older ones. This Father’s Day, the Comedy Studio celebrates this time-honored, pun-loving (get it?) style of humor with a dad joke competition. Who will produce the most groans?! Proceeds support the Somerville Weekend Backpack Program. Kids 12 and under admitted free.
$10, Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., The Comedy Studio, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville