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What to do this weekend

Posted by Courtney Hollands  March 31, 2010 09:55 AM

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Making plans? Short on ideas? No worries. See Milva DiDomizio and Courtney Hollands's picks for the top things to do around the Hub this weekend. Take a peek, then get out:

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WEEKEND

String us along: Playwright Michael Hollinger knows about musicians. Before he wrote "Opus," his drama about the inner workings of a world-renowned string quartet, he was a violist himself. New Repertory Theatre presents the New England premiere of Hollinger's work that weaves music into a story about the people who create it. Temper tantrums, ego issues, and deep dark secrets are all part of the juicy drama featuring area favorites Benjamin Evett, Bates Wilder, Shelly Bolman, Michael Kaye, and Becky Webber. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday (through April 17). $35-$54. Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown. 617-923-8487, newrep.org

FRIDAY

Wynter in spring: You might know Wynter Gordon from her infectious vocals on Flo Rida's summer jam "Sugar." She also has a single out — the very dirty "Dirty Talk" — and has penned tunes for Estelle, Jennifer Lopez, and "Gossip Girl's" Leighton Meester. Gordon will perform live at Flash Friday at brand spanking new club Royale, alongside DJ Matty D and local dance troupe Phunk Phenomenon. 21+. 10 p.m. April 2. $25, $15 with RSVP to thelist@flashthenight.com. Royale. 617-866-8933. royaleboston.com

Sounds sparkly: We bet there will be enough costume jewelry, pasties, and feathers to go around at Friday's Rhinestone Revue, the Burlesque Expo kick-off show. Legendary dancers April March and Joan Arline and last year's expo winners (including Lucy Buttons and Honeysuckle Duvet) will perform. And, bring your beach balls: There's an after party by the pool. 8 p.m. Revue: $40, $30 in advance; pool party: $25, $15 in advance. Hyatt, 575 Memorial Dr., Cambridge. burlesque-expo.com

Don't forget about Saturday and Sunday. Read on for more ideas . . .

FRIDAY & SATURDAY

Rhythm is going to get you: A quick look at African vocalist Angélique Kidjo's collaborators (Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Branford Marsalis, Peter Gabriel) reveals both the Grammy Award winner's stature and her versatility. Her recent release "Oyo" showcases her eclectic brand of Afro-pop. While the recording is awash in traditional African songs, it also includes covers of Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, James Brown, and Sidney Bechet, a favorite of Kidjo's recently departed father. 8 p.m. $40. Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square. 617-876-4275, worldmusic.org

Funny ladies: Deb Farrar-Parkman was a producer at WGBH when she realized that pursuing her dream of becoming a stand-up comedian wouldn't kill her. As she puts it on her website, "I had an epiphany: that I'm 99.9% more likely to die of a heart attack or cancer than I am of embarrassment." More than a decade later, she's still standing, making people laugh until they cry. She's part of ColorStruck, an annual event showcasing comedy acts by women of color. This year's lineup represents several ethnicities and includes Farrar-Parkman, Bethany Van Delft, Janet Cormier, Esther Ku, Susan Alexander, Alycia Cooper, Sheila Jackson, Shereen, and Asie Mohtarez. 7:30 p.m. $18-$20. Tommy's Comedy Lounge, 74 Warrenton St. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

SATURDAY

April flowers: April is the brightest month at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's courtyard, where "Hanging Nasturtiums" celebrate the onset of spring with vibrant orange blossoms. Chief horticulturist Stanley Kozak spends the better part of a year cultivating 15 to 20-foot vines for the annual tradition begun by Gardner herself in 1903. If the flowers look good enough to eat, head over to the Gardner Cafe where Chef Peter Crowley features the edible blossoms in dishes including caramelized sea scallops and chamomile panna cotta. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $12, $10 seniors, $5 students. Exhibit through mid-April, menu available during April. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston. 617-566-1401, gardnermuseum.org

Bicycle trip for two: Sage Cohen was a 48-year-old Peace Corps volunteer when she saw an online posting by a Maine lobsterman looking for a cycling companion. They exchanged 235 e-mails before finally meeting at London's Heathrow Airport to begin a riding adventure through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Nepal. Cohen relates her experiences in "Kyrgyzstan to Kathmandu." In her own words, "The slide show is about 6 months, 5 countries, 4 wheels, 3 weddings, 2 people, and 1 amazing trip." It also allows Cohen's travels to help provide transportation for people from the countries she visited — the proceeds help provide Charlie Cards for clients at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. What goes around comes around. 6:30 p.m. $20. The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge. www.democracycenter.org

Film firsts: Budding directors came out of the woodwork for the Boston Center for the Arts inaugural Young Filmmakers Competition. George Thorman's "Sam the Super Sticky" made the semi-finals with an animated short about a sticky-note super hero. "Barbicide" by Dimitri Kouri depicts a guy's disastrous attempt to transform from scruffy to spiffy. Homelessness,bottled water, and life choices are among the other topics explored by moviemakers in their teens and early twenties. Winners will be announced after you watch the seven semi-finalist films. 6-9:30 p.m. $5. Cyclorama, 539 Tremont St., Boston. 617-426-5000, bcaonline.org

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Getting to Sesame Street: Who's your favorite muppet? Ours is Miss Piggy, of course. We love her assertiveness and sense of style. A new exhibit, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World," offers a window on her creator. The show honors Henson's visionary imagination and genius with displays of drawings, cartoons, storyboards, puppets, TV and movie props, photographs, and video. 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday (through June 27). Free. National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Rd., Lexington. 781-861-6559, nationalheritagemuseum.org

SUNDAY

Easter eats: Maybe you're spread too thin to cook Easter dinner — or you haven't done a thing about putting together a basket for the kids. Instead of stressing, make a reservation at Brasserie JO. You get to sip Bloody Marys and champagne while the tykes go on an egg hunt, eat jelly beans, visit the cupcake station, and get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. The menu includes roasted leg of lamb and carrot cake with black walnut ice cream. Menu: noon-1 p.m.; activities: noon-3 p.m. Brasserie JO, Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-425-3240, brasseriejoboston.com

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Contributors

Stephanie Callahan is a native Bostonian who loves cooking, traveling, spa treatments, and being on the ocean.

Meghan Colloton is a Bostonian who loves traveling, channeling her inner Julia Child, and trying weird things -- from food to bungee jumping.

Milva DiDomizio is a New England native who's fond of cooking, singing, and Boston's arts and culture scene.

Rachel Raczka is a Bostonian who enjoys buttercream frosting, gin cocktails, and conquering cobblestone streets in high heels.

Emily Sweeney is a Boston native who goes out all over, from Irish pubs in Southie to the roller rink in Dorchester.

Emily Wright is a native Cape Codder who enjoys exercising, baking, and the occasional guilty pleasure action movie.

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