Things to Do

The Weekender: Charming mobsters, stupid selfies, and ‘Dragon’ ladies

Joe Barbara (Sonny) and Frankie Leoni (Young C) and Company of A BRONX TALE. Photo: Joan Marcus
Joan Marcus
“A Bronx Tale” is at Citizens Bank Opera House through April 14.

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Hey, hey, Weekenders!

I realize that you just-just finished getting your face sandblasted and belongings scattered down the street by gale-force winds, but they don’t let me out of this room until I encourage you to go out this weekend, so that’s what I’m doing.

Besides there’s no better way to battle against forces that blow than by indulging in others that absolutely do not; and I’ve got a whole stack of those (with one glaring exception). Now I just need to find that paperweight mom gave me for Christmas.


MOB SCENES: Not every cold-blooded broad-daylight murder gets “transformed into a splashy, ‘Jersey Boys’-style musical,” which is probably for the best, the more I think about it. But we’ll make an exception for Chazz Palminteri’s enduring coming-of-age story, “A Bronx Tale,” which has endured by indulging in all kinds of adoptions and adaptions. It’s gone from a runaway hit one-man show in the late ’80s to an off-Broadway sensation, a Robert De Niro-sporting film, and most recently, a full-on Broadway musical — the touring version of which rolls into the Citizens Bank Opera House through April 14. Globe theater critic Don Aucoin describes its Bronx milieu as “part ‘Goodfellas,’ part ‘Guys and Dolls,’ complete with a rowdy dice game.” Grab tickets here, kid.

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BANNON FODDER: Globe film critic Ty Burr gives three stars to director Alison Klayman’s “brisk” and “cooly observant” documentary “The Brink,” which trails the ever more obscure trajectory of ex-Trump aide, ex-Breitbart-head, and steadily sinking one-man anti-globalist think tank Steve Bannon, as he slogs around Europe following his ousting from the White House, courting powerful ears and “tirelessly peddling poison door to door.” “The contradictions of being Bannon rise to the surface through fly-on-the-wall camerawork and unobtrusive editing,” writes Burr. Opens Friday.

SAY CHEESE: The real world: not so fantastic lately. But wow, it sure beats the fake one! Take it from Globe art critic Murray Whyte. He took in a sneak peek of the selfie-centered traveling virtual panopticon that is “Happy Place” (opening this Friday in the gutted Marshalls on Boylston) and all he got was this lousy existential crisis. “Happy Place” turned out to be not just “a grotty, tacked-together funhouse tailored to the Instagram set” but also “a sunny horseman of a looming digital apocalypse” — as well as a thousand-follower stare into “the 21st century at its most depressing, where real experiences matter less than how you can present them on screen.” So that sounds fun! It’s up through June 2; tickets here.

TOP GIRLS: And if virtual circuses aren’t your thing, you’re in luck: There’s a real one! The Big Apple Circus comes tumbling into the Northshore Mall in Peabody (because that’s what malls are for now) through May 5. New ringmaster Stephanie Monseu (a.k.a. Philomena Bindlestiff, longtime leader of the legendary Bindlestiff Family Cirkus) leads the show into its 41st season, which showcases the feats and fierceness of “real life wonder women.” Expect acrobats, aerialists, clowns, “horizontal juggling,” and your daughters to walk a little taller on the way out. Tickets here.

MOURNING LITE: Globe contributor James Sullivan had a nice chat with Charlotte Gainsbourg as she careened down Seventh Avenue on her bicycle (she’s always had a way of cutting her own path through the noise). The singer (and fille de Serge) is doing a short string of dates to promote her fifth and most recent album, “Rest,” a ravishing, refined album for which Gainsbourg “looked to the moody disco-era soundtracks of ’70s suspense films such as ‘Midnight Express’ to convey her despair over the loss of her sister and her lingering grief over her father.” You can catch her at Royale on Sunday. Grab tickets here.

Gustavo Dudamel, the Music and Artistic Director of LA Philharmonic Orchestra, is seen after the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images
Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra Friday and Saturday.

SOLID DUDAMEL: It’s a very special fortnight over at Symphony Hall, as esteemed Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel kicks off his own spring break by stepping in to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. On Friday and Saturday you can hear him lead performances of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” as well as Schumann’s Symphony No. 1. (And next weekend he offers a program of Desenne, Ginastera, and Estévez.) Find tickets here.

FRENCH KICKS: Starting Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, you can take in “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris,” a survey of the artiste populaire’s work that goes far beyond the frame of the poster. The show “performs the delicate balancing act of pleasing the casual fan while deepening the understanding of the artist and his context,” writes Whyte. “It goes beyond the artist’s penchant for naughty hedonism — that’s the crowd-pleasing part — and reveals his interests as a social critic, a creative engine, and a tender heart.” It’s up through Aug. 4; find more info here.

FAMILY AFFAIR: “After experiencing her astonishing ‘Dragon Lady’ and the world premiere of ‘Dragon Mama,’ it’s not clear to me what, if anything, this incandescent artist cannot do,” writes Globe theater critic Don Aucoin of writer-performer Sara Porkalob, whose solo shows are onstage through Sunday at the American Repertory Theater’s club space, Oberon. Porkalob (with the direction of Andrew Russell) takes on the tales of her Filipino grandmother and mother with a combination of “emotional honesty and next-level virtuosity” that “is hard to beat.” Pro tip: Catch her now before “Dragon Baby” (the ART-commissioned final musical installment of her trilogy) comes blazing in. Find tickets here.

DAD JOKES: For some slightly rawer transnational takes, this weekend you have two chances to catch globe-trotting international stand-up sensation (and star of Netflix’s “The Indian Detective”) Russell Peters. The Canadian comic is coming through town with “Deported,” a more personal show on family life, on Friday evening at the Chevalier Theatre in Medford, and Saturday night at the Wilbur Theatre (but get clicking, the early show is already officially sold out).

GRAND GESTURES: And finally from the outside world this week is the Celebrity Series of Boston presentation of Tel Aviv’s lauded Batsheva Dance Company, led by visionary choreographer Ohad Naharin. On Friday and Saturday the Boch Center Shubert Theatre hosts the local debut of the company and “Venezuela,” a full-length piece “set to a sound score ranging from Gregorian chant to rap to primal screams” and identifiably Naharin (in large part through his signature “movement language” known as “Gaga”). Find more information and tickets here.


OR STAY IN! Why let the wind ruin your hair when you can do it at home with headphones? There’s a new Steve Earle album, “Guy” (a tribute to Guy Clark!) that would be perfect for this blustery weekend. (He did write “She Ain’t Going Nowhere,” after all.)

Adam Scott plays Justin Sanderson in the "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" episode of "The Twilight Zone." MUST CREDIT: Robert Falconer, CBS
Robert Falconer/CBS
Multiple episodes of Jordan Peele’s reboot of “The Twilight Zone” are available on CBS All Access.

And while the wind can blow many things, it can’t quite blow your mind. For that, you may need a dose of Jordan Peele’s reboot of “The Twilight Zone” of which multiple episodes are now available. (And for those, you need a CBS All Access subscription. I know. Look at it this way, you get full access to “Big Brother” too! Maybe don’t look at it that way.) In any case, Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert says he wasn’t transported to another dimension or anything, but did come across “enough satisfying moments to inspire more mining for gold.” (That’s how I feel about “Big Brother.”)

More promising might be the season two premiere of the wildly popular “Killing Eve,” starring Sandra Oh as a British investigator and Jodie Comer as a hired killer. That’s on BBC America and AMC simultaneously on Sunday at 8 p.m. 

On Saturday at 10 p.m., you can catch “Native Son,” HBO’s intriguingly updated adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel, and the directorial debut of artist Rashid Johnson. Ashton Sanders stars as Bigger, along with costars Bill Camp, Sanaa Lathan, Margaret Qualley, and David Alan Grier. 

And that, windblown Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the clouds for you today. Hang onto your hats, and however you decide to spend your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.