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Weekend picks, Jan. 4-6

Posted by Milva DiDomizio  January 2, 2013 11:30 AM

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L to R: "Invisible Man" (Astrid Riecken); the New Bedford Whaling Museum; "33 Variations" (Timothy Dunn)

Making plans? Short on ideas? No worries. See Milva DiDomizio and June Wulff's picks for the top things to do around the Hub this weekend.

FRIDAY

IDENTITY QUEST To play the starring role in the stage version of Ralph Ellison's novel "Invisible Man," actor Teagle F. Bougere worked to increase his mental and physical stamina. In an interview with Time Out Chicago last year, he said his preparation involved studying the book and adding push-ups and sit-ups to his regular running regimen. Why so demanding? Bougere is on stage from the first line ("I am an invisible man") until the very end of the play. The Huntington Theatre Company presents the story of a young African-American man experiencing racism and classism in 1930's America. It features an award-winning script by Oren Jacoby and direction by Christopher McElroen. Jan. 4-5, 8 p.m. Jan. 6, 7 p.m. Through Feb. 3. Tickets from $25. Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

FACING THE MUSIC Characters in Moises Kaufman's play "33 Variations" include Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Diabelli, and a modern-day musicologist. James Andreassi plays the 19th-century musical genius, and Paula Plum plays the musicologist exploring his fanatical drive to compose while dealing with her own debilitating illness. The Lyric Stage Company's production also features live piano music. Jan. 4-5, 8 p.m. Jan. 5-6, 3 p.m. Through Feb. 2. $25-$58, $10 student rush. Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon St., Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

WHERE THE ACTION IS The young men in pop/rock band Action Item are touring in support of their just-out release, "Resolution." According to guitarist Anthony Li, "This album and tour showcases a natural progression among the band as musicians, and most of all, as best friends." The concert also features Hello Highway, Before You Exit, and Paradise Fears. Jan. 4, 6 p.m. $15. Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Boston. 617-779-0140, www.brightonmusichall.com

TEEN THESPIANS The Boston Teen Acting Troupe was founded in early 2011 to bring professional teen theater to the area. See the group’s production of Yasmine Reza’s comedy "ART," about what happens to a trio of friends when one buys an expensive modern painting. Jan 4, 3:30 p.m. Jan. 5, 7 p.m. $10, $5 students. Bulger Performing Arts Center, 150 Morrissey Blvd., Boston. www.bostonteenactingtroupe.com

CULT OF ROCK It'll be a good night for fans of local rock and roll when hard rock quartet Cult 45 celebrates the release of its first full-length recording, "On High." Also on the bill are Slim Lizzy, White Dynomite, and a reunion appearance (first time in more than a decade) by Chelsea on Fire. Jan. 4, 8 p.m. $10. 21=+ Radio, 379-381 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-764-0005, www.radiobarunion.com

SATURDAY

A WHALE OF A TIME Barney Frank may be retiring from Congress, but he's got a new position as the first reader in the New Bedford Whaling Museum's annual Moby-Dick Marathon, featuring a non-stop reading of Herman Melville's great American novel. Frank will begin with "Call me Ishmael" promptly at noon. Aficionados who stay for the whole 25-hour reading win a prize. Arrive early with your toughest Melville questions for the Stump-the-Scholars quiz show-style panel. Jan. 5, 10-11 a.m., panel. Reading begins at noon. Free. See website for full schedule of events. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. www.whalingmuseum.org

GOT A MINUTE At the Playwrights' Theatre One-Minute Play Festival, you can see 70 plays by 40 playwrights all in one weekend and not need to pull a single all-nighter. Participating playwrights include Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, Israel Horovitz, Jack Neary, Liz Duffy Adams, and Joyce Van Dyke. Jan. 5-7, 8 p.m. $20. Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Comm. Ave., Boston. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplaywrights.org

GUITAR SENIOR Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Freddy King, and Magic Sam served as inspirational forces for Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson. At 15, the Mississipi native headed to Memphis where he saw Muddy Waters perform, and later, Johnson became a guitarist and vocalist for the blues great. The septuagenarian, hardly a "Junior," is a master of the Chicago blues. Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. $15. Johnny D's, 17 Holland St., Davis Square, Somerville. 617-776-2004, www.johnnyds.com

FIDDLE-DEE-DEE We love an old Scottish fiddle tune mixed with Latin, funk, and jazz influences, don't you? At Fiddle Fusion, hear how two bands push the boundaries of traditional music by mixing in elements from other genres and technology. Alba's Edge combines Scottish fiddling, Latin percussion, jazz and funk grooves, and bandleader Neil Pearlman's piano playing. Firecloud, the trio of Julie Vallimont, Andy Reiner, and DJ Nanocannon, blends fiddle, techno music, and improvisation. Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m. $10. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. www.lily-pad.net

FRESH AIRS It'll be a homecoming for Somerville native Bob Ferreira when he returns to the Boston area with the Four Freshmen. Ferreira has been bass voice and percussionist for the vocal quartet for 20 years, but the group itself formed in the late 1940's. Expect their shows to feature selections from their latest recording of classic love songs. Jan. 5, 8 p.m. Jan. 6, 2 p.m. $50-$55. Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main St., Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.stonehamtheatre.org

SUNDAY

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW Our online dictionary says that in Russia, a "babushka" is an old woman. The musicians in the New Babushkas aren't old women, but they do play some old tunes like "Opa Cupa" and "Jovano Jovanke." Those are Balkan, but the quintet (featuring accordion, flute, flugelhorn, clarinet, and vocals) also puts their spin on music from French, modern, and Russian styles. Jan. 6, 7-9:30 p.m. Free. Arts at the Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. 617-718-2191, www.artsatthearmory.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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