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What to do this weekend

Posted by Courtney Hollands  September 15, 2010 11:44 PM

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

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WEEKEND

'Romeo and Juliet':
It's not the first time Shakespeare's tragic lovers have been catapulted into the modern age, but it should still be fun to see the Independent Drama Society's version. Director Sarah Gazdowicz presents the pair as a couple of rebellious punk rockers, because the punk movement provides a perfect aesthetic for the tale of young sweethearts who won't play by their society's rules. Actors apply inspiration from bands like the Addicts, the Casualties, and Black Flag to the bard's original text. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday (through Sept. 25) $17, $15 advance, $13 students and seniors. The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St., Boston. independentdramasociety.org

'In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)': It may be hard to believe, but the vibrator was a medical device before it was ever a sex toy. That's right — in the 1880s doctors used the newfangled electrical appliance to treat women (and occasionally men) suffering from hysteria. Playwright Sarah Ruhl picked up on the idea after reading Rachel Maines's fascinating academic opus "The Technology of Orgasm." Ruhl translated what she learned into this show, which has made a splash with audiences and critics alike (2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2010 Tony nomination). As the action unfolds, the vibrations emitted by one Dr. Givings' state-of-the-art instrument emanate from the examining room into his entire household. SpeakEasy Stage Company presents the Boston premiere. 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday (through Oct. 16) $14-$55. Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston. 617-933-8600, bostontheatrescene.com

The Big E: This fest bills itself as a "Last Blast of Summer." It's certainly a big blast, with big ticket entertainment (electronica outfit Owl City, country star Miranda Lambert, and America's Got Talent winner Terry Fator are just a few); a European-style circus (white tigers, feats of daring); BMX stunt shows; a Musicians Hall of Fame with artifacts and instruments from Dylan, Sinatra, and more; a Mardi Gras Parade; and a reconstructed 19-century New England village. The fair's roots are agricultural, so expect to see the traditional livestock, vegetables, and crafts. 8 a.m. every day (through Oct. 3) $15, $12 advance; $10 ages 6-12, $8 advance; under six free. Additional fees for midway, concerts. Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds, Rte. 147, West Springfield. 413-205-5115, thebige.com

FRIDAY

'Best in Show': This Rogue Burlesque revue features the troupe's best acts and fan favorites — "putting the 'ass' back in class," according to the press release. See performances by Dixie Douya, Busty Keaton, Ms. Sassypants, and the rest of the gang. Johnny Blazes is the emcee. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15, $10 in advance. 21+. Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston. 617-536-0966, rogueburlesque.com/bestinshow

Great Big Sea: For a person, 17 years isn't so old. For a band, going strong for that long is pretty darn good. How do these guys do it? Their novel approach to Newfoundland folk music, for one thing. But also — touring. As a matter of fact, the group's latest album, "Safe Upon the Shore," is chock full of songs about life on the road. Even for those of us who don't travel and perform for a living, the ensemble's musical expressions of the precarious balance between work and family, maintaining relationships with colleagues, and recalling the heyday of youth all strike a chord. 8 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Pl., Boston. $24.50-$33.50. livenation.com

Martha Reeves: As frontwoman for Martha and the Vandellas, Reeves was one of Motown's biggest stars. Together, the girl group churned out hits including "Nowhere to Run," "Jimmy Mack," and "Dancing in the Street." Since then, Reeves has enjoyed a long and busy performing career — until she became a member of the Detroit City Council, that is. Those four years are behind her now, and the R&B diva is back to devoting herself full time to touring and music. 8 and 10 p.m. $38. Scullers Jazz Club, Doubletree Guest Suites, 400 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston. 781-562-4111, scullersjazz.com

SATURDAY

Urban Country Fair:
Think you have to travel miles from the city to experience the downhome friendliness of a good old-fashioned country style fest? Think again. Thanks to the Somerville Arts Council and Truth Serum Productions, there's one right nearby. This event captures the spirit of its model by focusing on neighbors sharing knowledge, showing off skills and products, and having fun. Celebrate local ingenuity and enjoy craft displays, Boston SkillShare workshops, vendors including First Root Farm and Whisky Business (they make vegan treats, no kidding), and music by Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, The Pretty Pennies, and Comanchero. 3-7 p.m. Free. Rain date Sept. 19. Union Square, Somerville. 617-625-6600, somervilleartscouncil.org

SUNDAY

Comics for a Cure: Kids with cancer isn't funny, but this event aims to use humor to help. Providing the fundraising jokes are Whitney Cummings, Nick DiPaolo, Gary Gulman, Joe List, Bigg Nez, and Jim Lauletta. Quincy resident Tracy Harding conceived the idea of presenting comedy to help families struggling with pediatric cancer after her niece was diagnosed at the age of two months. Proceeds directly benefit three families with children battling neuroblastoma. 7-9:30 p.m. $20-$50. 21+. The Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston. comicsforacure.org

Revels RiverSing: The folks at Revels think fall is something to celebrate. That's why every year, right around the Autumnal Equinox, they present this event. The celebration begins in Harvard Square's Winthrop Park with New Orleans jazz, hula hooping, and giant puppets. From there, a grand procession forms and travels to the Cambridge side of the Charles for a mass communal sing. Area choruses lead the way in familiar songs, and Cambridge Poet Populist Jean Dany-Joachim and members of Actors' Shakespeare Project offer poetry readings. At sunset, Stan Strickland floats in on an illuminated sun/moon boat, serenading the crowd and the season with a magical saxophone improvisation. Pre-sing activities 5-5:45 p.m. at Winthrop Park, Harvard Square. Procession leaves 5:45 p.m. Sing at 6 p.m. on the Cambridge side of the river, near the John W. Weeks Footbridge at Memorial Drive. Free. 617-972-8300, revels.org

Olodum: This Afro-Brazilian ensemble's marriage of art and politics has been fruitful and longstanding. The group developed its signature sound (samba reggae) in the mid 1980's by melding percussion, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and Brazilian samba. Their embrace of racial equality, civil rights, and socio-economic justice that started in their native Brazil has led them to 35 countries and collaborations with artists including Paul Simon (they're on "Rhythm of the Saints"), Spike Lee, Michael Jackson, and Jimmy Cliff. They bring their percussion, horns, vocals, keyboard, and guitar to town to celebrate 30 years of music making and activism. 8 p.m. $40. Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville. 617-876-4275, worldmusic.org

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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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