Five things to do this weekend: Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Have some more times around the musical campfire. The first batch of campfire. – punctuation still not our fault – took place Memorial Day; here’s your last batch of the year of Passim’s homegrown music festival, running from noon Saturday through the Labor Day holiday. The spark of the festival is to develop talent and celebrate the local music scene, with organizers saying events typically blur the line between performer and audience member. “Performers sit in the room to watch other performers, and occasionally audience members get pulled on stage,” Passim says. The all-ages event offers $30 festival passes and $10 daily passes here. Food at the 47 Palmer St., Harvard Square, club is available from Veggie Planet, which shares the space. The concert schedule is here.
Take action on Citizens United. The Supreme Court decided in its January 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case that corporations had free speech rights like U.S. citizens, with similar rights to donate to political campaigns. As Mitt Romney defended it, “Corporations are people, my friend … of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.” If you see a flaw in the arguments or are curious what the flaws might be, there’s a Pass Mass Amendment meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Get convinced and you can help secure 70,000 valid signatures between Sept. 18 and Nov. 20 toward winning a ballot initiative to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to declare that “Corporations are not people, money is not speech.” The meeting is at The Democracy Center, 45 Mount Auburn St., Harvard Square.
Visit “Avenue Q” to hear the filth puppets say and sing when we’re not around. This transgressive little musical imagines what happens on “Sesame Street” after everyone finishes learning the alphabet. It went to another street – Broadway – between 2003-09, running for more than 2,000 Tony Award-winning performances. Here’s a scaled down version of the Robert Lopez/Jeff Marx/Jeff Whitty dark musical comedy phenomenon for $15 general admission, $10 admission for MIT community, $6 for MIT and Wellesley students and $3 for incoming first-year students. The shows are from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at W16-035, the Kresge Little Theatre, in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave.
It’s also “Zero Dark Thirty.” If raunchy puppets or $15 admissions don’t fit your mood Saturday, MIT’s Lecture Series Committee is happy to counter-program. It’s offering a free showing of the controversial, Oscar-nominated fictionalized recounting of how U.S. intelligence and the Navy’s SEAL Team Six took down Osama bin Laden. This screening of the Kathryn Bigelow film, paid for by the Undergraduate Admissions Finance Board, is at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Building 26-100, also known as the Compton Laboratories, at 60 Vassar St.
See family-friendly but even more challenging puppets at the Total This & That Circus. The Bread & Puppet Theater returns to Cambridge with the Total This & That Circus at 3 p.m. Sunday as part of its 50-year anniversary of political rabble-rousing. Expect less smut then you’ll find on Avenue Q, but a fair number of laughs and far more to wonder at and think about.The Vermont troupe’s artistic director, Peter Schumann, says the circus includes:
daffodil combat forces battling F-35 jets; the elimination of the 800,001st Palestinian olive tree, totally unattended by the National Outrage Orchestra; an Animal Rental Facility, which offers disenchanted customers of civilization instant transformation into frog or deer, cricket or rat. There will also be new characters, such as underprivileged Corporate Dwarves, overshadowed by Ordinary 99% Giants promoting brand-new economy-shrinking ventures, while the Lubblerland National Dance Company enhances the program with eternal values gloves-on dances presented to the gloves-off practitioners in Guantanamo and elsewhere.
You get the idea. The circus takes place on the Cambridge Common, rain or shine, for this free performance. (Passing the hat is welcome, and art will be for sale after the show.) For information, call (617) 286-6694 or visit breadandpuppet.org.