Your Weekend: A Selective Guide

Movies: “Black and White,” with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, has gotten some nice reviews…You’ve seen “Boyhood” — now try “Girlhood.” Television: On Friday, “Shakespeare Uncovered” returns with Hugh “Lord Grantham” Bonneville talking to Ralph Fiennes about “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”…And of course on Sunday you can spurn the Super Bowl and watch Lord Grantham in a new “Downton Abbey” episode. Music: Brush up with “2015 Grammy Nominees” before next weekend’s awards broadcast…The arrest of Suge Knight is boosting his record sales: duh! Books: Here’s your last chance to read “Fifty Shades of Grey” before the movie comes out and ruins the imaginative experience forever. Sports: YouTube has announced that its AdBlitz channel will host a first ever live Super Bowl halftime show, replete with YouTube stars. Finally: I hope by the time you read this I will be in a place where it’s 85 not 25 degrees. And where I’ll be blogging infrequently!

Anti-Putin Protest Greets Met Premiere

At last! Some genuine excitement on a Met stage! Thursday night, a protester carrying a sign criticizing the policies of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia climbed over the orchestra pit and onto the stage at the Metropolitan Opera as the diva Anna Netrebko took her curtain call after performing the title role in Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta.” The conductor, Valery Gergiev, has been even more vocal in his support of Putin than has Netrebko. I wholeheartedly support the protester, even though it would be equally fair to protest President Obama for, let’s say, drone strikes killing civilians, at a performance featuring pro-Obama American performers. Putin hardly has a monopoly on hateful actions.

“Month In The Country”: My FT Review

The Financial Times has published my review of an off-Broadway revival of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country,” starring Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage. Bottom line: ‘As much as one wants to admire Schilling for choosing “Month” for her New York stage debut, one must wonder at the wisdom of the selection. The production is rather wan.”

Super Bowl: It’s The Ads, Stoopid!

I don’t care about Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz, and, apart from the faux-debates over “American Sniper,” is anything more done-to-death than chatter about DeflateGate? In other words, when I watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, what I’ll be focusing on is the ads. Even Nissan has gotten in on the act too after almost 20 years of opting not to make a Super Bowl commercial. With a cutesy baby.

“Gigi” Opens In D.C.: Review

Not my review, kids: I’ll wait to see the show, starring Vanessa Hudgens, until it opens on Broadway in April. But Peter Marks, of the Washington Post, has written a notice that pretty much jibes with what I’ve been hearing from people I trust in D.C. To wit: “Gigi” ‘is well thought out and well handled, especially courtesy of a runway’s worth of sumptuous evening gowns by Catherine Zuber, and the elegant choreography by Joshua Bergasse. But the production, which had its official opening Thursday night, is also a reminder that “Gigi” is not a great musical.’ Further: ‘I suspect that fans of the movie will again find moments to ooh and aah, even if “Gigi” will make only the exceptionally devoted go “ooh la la.”’

Future Is In “Beast Mode”

After a debut littered with yearning club jams, hits penned for pop stars, and a romance with the singer Ciara, Future has come to be understood as one of his generation’s premier romantics. His new mixtape, produced in full by Atlanta trap legend Zaytoven, finds him speaking to a specific personal turmoil without worrying about whether it’ll be relatable or even likable.

Stoppard’s Latest: Mixed Reviews

Tom Stoppard‘s new play “The Hard Problem” has opened at the National Theatre in London, directed by Nicholas Hytner, to mixed reviews. The play, which poses big questions about the nature of consciousness, is Stoppard’s first at the NT since 2002′s “The Coast of Utopia.” The story centers around psychology researcher Hilary (Olivia Vinall, pictured) and her work at a brain science institute. In The Guardian, Michael Billington writes: ‘Even if the play occasionally suffers from information overload, it is still a rich, ideas-packed work that offers a defence of goodness whatever its ultimate source.” In The Read more »