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
The Crucible has never really been about the Salem Witch Trials. Arthur Miller only used the infamous story of New England Puritan madness to veil his critique of the Red Scare of the 1950s, and long after the House Un-American Activities Committee was dissolved, Miller’s allegory continues to be relevant, whenever rigid ideology and hysterical accusations supplant more reasonable political discourse—so, you know, pretty much all the time.
$25-$69, through October 13, Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
While other rock heroes continue their careers in an ordinary fashion into their elder years, to varying results, David Byrne has been a bit of a wild card. Sure, he’s made pop music, but he’s also written books, given TED talks, started an Internet radio station, and scored for films and opera. Now he’s graced us with American Utopia, which is no ordinary concert, but a theatrical, musical spectacle, incorporating performances from 11 internationally-sourced artists.
$59-$219, through September 28, Colonial Theater, 106 Boylston St., Boston
This comic, based in his hometown of Los Angeles, specializes in long stories, which he acts out with an energy that makes his work feel three dimensional in a Twitter-damaged age, going beyond opinions and critiques to display a complex slice of life. He often returns to race relations, whether he’s imitating a drunk Mexican on St. Patrick’s Day, an arrogant white man in traffic court, or the terrorist people often seem to think he is.
$25-$29, Friday and Saturday, Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston
The virtuoso, that inhumanly gifted performer, is a stock character in orchestral music, and all the better if they are a child savant who just seems to be effortlessly brilliant. But very few such people exist, and for most musicians, it’s the virtue of hard work that leads to the appearance of savant-like virtuosity. A Far Cry’s latest concert explores the tension between the two ideas, culminating Violin Concerto in D Minor by Beethoven, a composer whose gifts were both prodigious and hard-won.
$25-$75, 8 p.m., Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St., Boston
The Stackin’ Stylez dance battle, now in its third year, is part of a tradition going back to the origins of hip-hop, first exposed to the world in films like 1984’s Breakin’. But unlike traditional battles, Stackin’ Stylez adds a wild card, forcing both competitors in each round to work around a provided theme, making it impossible to just bust out their best routine. Workshops and other events accompany the main event—see the link above for details.
$20, 4:30 p.m., Middle East Downstairs, 480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
India is probably the country that gives Americans the best run for their money in over-the-top cinematic spectacle, and this live show from director and choreographer Rohit Baxi would be a good argument. Rrang is a massive celebration of Bollywood in dance, music, and theater, featuring more than 150 dancers and, we’re told, 4000 costumes, showcasing the distinct interweaving of ancient cultural traditions and modernity that makes Bollywood such a revealing lens for the present global era.
$29-$179, 8 p.m., Wang Theater, 270 Tremont St., Boston
This concert celebrates Juventas’ 15th anniversary, featuring work from three emerging composers, Oliver Caplan, Kathryn Salfelder, and Aaron Wyanski, paired with that of three elders who’ve influenced them: Michael Gandolfi, Jonathan Bailey Holland , and Dalit Warshaw. They’ll also preview the new opera I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams by Jorge Sosa and Cerise Lim Jacob, premiering later this month at the Paramount Theater.
$15-$35, 7:30 p.m., First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St., Boston
While they have no connection to Pedro the Lion, this Tennessee band shares a Christian background with Pedro’s David Bazan. While they’re now irreligious, a lot of the sunny uplift and big picture drama of worship music remains in their sensibility. Their music is mainstream pop, but strongly rooted in Americana, with dense, anthemic productions building to a big, starry sky of folk/bluegrass instrumentation and massive electronic beats.
$35-$45, 7 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston
Back at the turn of the millennium, Comedy Central was one of the few places you could see standup comedy videos at any length, and Pablo Francisco’s episode of Comedy Central Presents was one of the most popular, especially for his note-perfect impersonation of an entire movie trailer, with all the sound effects and voices, including ubiquitous trailer narrator Don LaFontaine (RIP). It’s doubtful you’ll hear that legendary bit at this show, but Francisco never runs out of characters.
$26, 7 p.m., The Wilbur Theater, 246 Tremont St., Boston
Cape Verdean folk singer Lucibela has earned favorable comparisons to one of her country’s greatest singer-songwriters, the now-deceased Cesária Évora, who’s so beloved that she’s pictured on one denomination of the Cape Verde’s currency. Such praise sounds like a curse as well as a blessing, but however she feels about it, Lucibela holds her own. Her sound is breezy but bluesy, bouncy and brooding, reflecting Cape Verde’s unique mix of Iberian and African cultural elements.
$32-$42, 7 p.m., City Winery, 80 Beverly St., Boston
Free Things to Do
It feels appropriately sacrilegious to show Rocky Horror at a time other than midnight, and outdoors, no less, but the usual antics will probably happen. The cult classic can feel a little outdated in 2019, but in 1975 it was strong tea, and it keeps calling the masses to pull out their freak flags and wave them—ideally while doing the Time Warp. This screening will feature a live pre-film performance from the Devil’s Twins, and live shadow-casting by the Teseracte Players.
Friday, 7 p.m., Herter Park Amphitheater, 1175 Soldiers Field Road, Allston
What’s striking about this series of photographs from Boston and New York in the ’70s and ’80s isn’t that they provide a window into the past, but the way they show how the past has its own past—whether it’s a crumbling mural, a woman in old fashioned hair curlers peering out of a car from the 60’s, or a cigarette machine in a suburban movie theater in 1985, Goodman shows a world always in the process of vanishing.
Through October 15, Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave., Boston
1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory remained remarkable true to the mix of wonderment and schadenfreude in the Roald Dhal source material, while also being its own unique trip. Younger and/or more sensitive kids might find bits of it scary, but the rest may appreciate its emotional range and colorful, pre-CGI strangeness. This outdoor screening by Wheelock Family Theater includes ice cream, face painting, and other activities before sundown.
Free, Friday, 6 p.m., Wheelock Family Theater, 200 Riverway, Boston
Say goodbye to summer at Riverfest, with a BBQ cookout, a wine and beer garden, kids’ activities including train rides, face painting, a bounce house, and a chalk walk, a diverse lineup of live music from Bleach the Sky, Cook Bag, Carissa Johnson, Somerville Symphony Orkestar, and Grooversity, and a fireworks display over the Mystic River to round off the evening.
Free, Saturday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Assembly Row, 355 Artisan Way, Somerville