Things to Do

The Weekender: GlobeDocs, presidential drama, spooky sounds, and a love supreme

Sakurako Konishi, left, and Masataka Kubota in "First Love." MUST CREDIT: Handout courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment
Well Go USA Entertainment
Sakurako Konishi (left) and Masataka Kubota in “First Love.”

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Hey, hey Weekenders! There’s a slight chill and the piquant aroma of fake pumpkins in the air, the evening is starting to encroach upon us a little earlier each day, and as leaves scatter down the streets in tiny cyclones, so too does my Facebook feed fill with ads for deeply stupid Halloween costumes. (Sexy goldfish? Really?)

It can only mean one thing: October is in full bloom, which is really just a prettier way of saying that everything around us is on the verge of death, but never mind that. It’s pretty!

Thus, I’m doing something very unpredictable this week and suggesting you go out and experience everything the weekend has to offer (and no, that does not mean camping out at the Pour House waiting for Rihanna to return).


Oh, and on a quick serious note, the Weekender would like to raise its coffee to Green Street Studios, which this week announced its coming closure, and I’d like to use this sad news as a reminder that our vibrant, various, and vital local arts community relies on all of us showing up and supporting it. And if you don’t know where to begin, that’s my cue to get started:

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WILD CARD: OK, so just to get this out of the way, Globe film critic Ty Burr went and saw the already-controversial origin story “Joker” for you, gave it two stars and called it “a slab of self-important pop-culture masonry whose only bright spot is the figure dancing brilliantly along its top.” So there you go. Meanwhile, the Weekender film pick for this week is Japanese director Takashi Miike’s (“13 Assassins”) “very deceptively titled” comic thriller, “First Love.” Globe critic Mark Feeney has 2½ stars for it, as well as a bunch of questions: “Is ‘First Love’ a comedy? A crime thriller? A love story? An advertorial for subscriptions to Guns and Ammo? Yes.” (One thing it isn’t? “Joker.”) Now screening.

REEL LIFE: What kind of Boston Globe newsletter would I be if I didn’t herd you all toward our annual deep dive into documentaries? The fifth annual GlobeDocs Film Festival is already underway and runs through Sunday at Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brattle Theatre, and Boston Showplace Icon at the Seaport. If you happen to be in the market for stories about healing and hope (for whatever reason), the 16 features and six shorts included in this year’s fest may be just what the doctor ordered.

25nixon - Joel Colodner as Henry Kissinger and Jeremiah Kissel as Richard Nixon in Russell Lees’ NIXON’S NIXON. (Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures)
Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures
Joel Colodner plays Henry Kissinger and Jeremiah Kissel portrays President Nixon in the New Repertory Theatre production of “Nixon’s Nixon.”

OUT OF OFFICE: Pumpkin spice isn’t the only strange smell in the air. As threats of impeachment loom, the rest of us could use a crash course in how to cope — or crash. To this end, you might consider taking in the New Repertory Theatre production of “Nixon’s Nixon.” Globe theater critic Don Aucoin writes, “[Jeremiah] Kissel and [Joel] Colodner deliver . . . as a desperate President Richard M. Nixon and a self-serving Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Elaine Vaan Hogue’s engrossing production of Russell Lees’s satire,” which is set on the night before Dick finally called it quits. (A thing that can actually happen.) It’s up through Sunday at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown; find tickets here.

INVASIVE SPECIES: Globe art contributor Cate McQuaid calls the “Local Ecologies” show making its way around the UMass system to UMass Boston’s University Hall Gallery an “ambitious exhibition” of works inspired by “area lands, ecosystems, and histories,” taking “long, often surprising paths to thoughtfully dismantle power hierarchies.” Artists including Maria Magdalena Campos Pons and Duy Hoàng dig into everything from the not-so-great Purity molasses flood of 1919 to the embedded xenophobia of Google Translate, respectively. It’s up through Oct. 26, and you can find more information here.


SUSPENDED DISBELIEF: For the third installment of its high-flying “When Air Meets Water” series, the Ipswich Moving Company is adding some exciting new elements to this acrobatic extravaganza under the arches of the Green Street Bridge. Featuring four dancers suspended in slings and rope over the surface of the Ipswich River, the performance will also feature live music by Chris Florio. You can catch a dress rehearsal on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and the official performance on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, though DBYOS (Don’t Bring Your Own Sling). More information here.

AIR PLAY: It wouldn’t be October without the spooky sound of the theremin. On Friday night, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project takes a quite literal hands-off approach to a pair of works for that most magical of instruments: the world premiere of composer Dalit Warshaw’s new concerto for the theremin along with Joseph Schillinger’s “First Airphonic Suite” — one of the first compositions written for it (back in 1929), both showcasing the talents of virtuoso thereminist Carolina Eyck. And filling out the program are two “jazz-age ballets” from John Alden Carpenter and Kurt Weill’s suite from “The Threepenny Opera.” You can find tickets and program notes here. And speaking of lovely gestures, if you want to chip in toward the recording of this historic theremin-infused program, there’s a Kickstarter here.

A LOVE SUPREME: A grand tradition continues on Saturday evening at Northeastern University’s Blackman Hall, as the 42nd Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert gets us all in a sentimental mood. Globe jazz contributor Kevin Lowenthal points out that for this year’s installment, in addition to its namesake, the concert “also honors the late cofounder and perennial artistic director of the JCMC: saxophonist, composer, and Northeastern professor Leonard L. Brown.” You can find tickets and full program info here.

STRING THEORIES: And on Sunday afternoon you can complete this trio of adventurous concerts with the Attaca Quartet, which comes to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with a program that begins with Haydn’s String Quartet No. 2 in D Major, Op. 71, and then, as Globe classical contributor Zoë Madonna puts it, “blasts off into less traveled territory: Giuseppe Verdi’s only string quartet and new pieces by jazz pianist Billy Childs and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.” (And while you’re there, check out “I Know Why They Left,” a stirring collection of drawings from Artist-in-Residence Joan Jonas.) More info and tickets here.

A FAMILY FAIR: And lastly from the outside world, there’s no better way to welcome the fall than the grand annual celebration of oversize gourds known as the Topsfield Fair. With cattle shows, horse pulls, live music and family entertainment, carnival rides, and more decadent fair food than you can shake a chocolate-dipped slab of bacon on a stick at, this one is a no-brainer. (Especially after a pound or so of that bacon.) It’s up and running through Oct. 14 and you can find a full schedule of events here.


OR STAY IN: It may seem counter-intuitive to tell you to stay home and sink into a show about crippling depression, but this newsletter is nothing if not full of surprises. “In a way,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, “‘The Great Depresh’ . . . is [comedian Gary] Gulman coming out of the closet, shrugging off any possible stigma in order to move forward.” Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Bonfiglio, the film combines Gulman’s sharp stand-up and documentary into a slyly funny and desperately needed discussion. (One that proves that comedy is alive and well, despite recent reports to the contrary.) That’s on HBO, Saturday at 10 p.m.

British actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepts the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award for "Fleabag" onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Frederic J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the Emmy-winning star of “Fleabag,” hosts “Saturday Night Live.”

You can follow that with the lighter fare of Emmy-hoarding “Fleabag” star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who takes the stage on “Saturday Night Live” on (spoiler) Saturday night with musical guest, a young woman named [checks notes] Taylor Swift. No idea. That’s on NBC at 11:30 p.m.

And lastly on the tube is “The Press,” a six-part “Masterpiece” standout that Gilbert says “follows the investigative teams at two competing British newspapers, one a liberal left voice and the other a right-leaning tab, and it’s about the editors’ and reporters’ lives and their ethics.” It’s fake news, just way fancier. That’s on Sunday night at 10 p.m.

And that, autumnal Weekenders, is all I’ve raked together for you this week. Whatever you do out there this weekend, keep your new scarf clear of the escalator’s jaws, and make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

See you next time!

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