"Citizens of the Empire"
Friday through January 23
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont St., Boston
$15-$25, 617-933-8600 
Boston Public Works presents this space opera by Kevin Mullins. Taking place sometime around the year 2816, it follows Marcus Kent, an aristocrat who’s willing to put his title on the line to fight for the freedom of his people, and against his former peers in the court. If you’re impatient for the next “Star Wars,” check this out. 
The Sunday Salons
Saturdays, 5 p.m.
Plaza Theater
539 Tremont St., Boston
This weekly poetry and music series was on hiatus for a spell, but now it’s back weekly at the Boston Center for the Arts with new hosts Daniel DeLoma and Gerald Acevedo. Each session is recorded for digital radio broadcast. This weekend’s re-inaugural session includes poets Alex Dimitrov, Soren Stockman and Danniel Shooenbeek, and guest musician Johnny Sciortino. 
Greg Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store
1256 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Free, 617-661-1515
What’s driving all this new social justice activism of the last few years, and what are the philosophies behind it? What inspires them and keeps them going? Author and activist Greg Jobin-Leeds will introduce a panel discussion with the collective AgitArte on their new book, “When We Fight, We Win!” which collects insights from some of the leading activists into these very questions. 
"The Thing"
Friday and Saturday
Coolidge Corner Theater
290 Harvard St., Brookline
$12, 617-734-2500
As we move into the dead of winter, it’s worth remembering things could be worse—for instance, you could be a scientist trapped on an Antarctic research station, being stalked by a—well, some kind of horrible, horrible Thing. Such is the nightmare of John Carpenter’s 1982 horror masterpiece, a remake that became a classic in its own right. 
Your Terrible Ex!
Fridays at 10 p.m.
The Riot Theater
146A South St., Jamaica Plain
For this weekly improv show, the cast will take your stories about bad relationships and make comedy out of them, just like you weren’t able to do. Whether your ex was clingy, overbearing or just loved their cats more than you, let these quick wits turn your pain into communal amusement, because laughter is the best revenge. 
Boston Chili Takedown
Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Middle East Downstairs
480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$20, 866-777-8932
Often you’ll see chili cookoffs hosted by the local neighborhood business alliance, with several area restaurants contributing, but at this event you’ll gorge on exclusively home-cooked chili. You can’t get this at a restaurant, only right here — unless you make friends with these people, of course. As for the status of your digestive system later, that’ll be your responsibility. 
"I Know Just What You’re Saying"
Through January 31
Kingston Gallery
450 Harrison Ave., Boston
Free, 617-423-4113
This multi-artist show is the result of an intriguing experiment: one artist created a work to give to another, who then had to create another in response, but give it to a different artist, and so on. The works will be displayed in the order they were created, allowing the viewer to follow the unpredictable process of transformation. 
Boston’s Celtic Music Festival
Friday and Saturday
Various Locations
$15-$65, 617-492-7679
This annual smorgasbord of music and dance from across the Celtic world—Ireland, Scotland, Cap Breton and more—returns. There are too many talents to name in this tiny box, so it’ll suffice to say Passim has put together another stellar lineup. It kicks up Friday night with the Boston Urban Ceilidh dance party.
The Prepared Piano
Saturday and Sunday
Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave., Boston
Free with admission, 617-478-3100
For the musically adventurous: at these in-gallery concerts, part of the Institute of Contemporary Art’s exhibition on the radical art school Black Mountain College, pianist Elaine Rombola will perform some of John Cage’s “Sonatas and Interludes,” works which famously require the piano to be “prepared” by sticking various objects — screws, erasers, paper clips, etc. — in between the strings. 
Saturday, 9:15 p.m.
The Lilypad
1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge
$7, 617-955-7729
This local instrumental math rock band takes the twinkly guitar sounds most commonly associated with the Kinsellas and their progeny, and mixes it with the contorted time signatures of bands like Hella. Explosive, spastic and wicked smaht, this music might just re-wire your brain. They’ll be joined at the Lilypad by Idle Pilot, Spelling and Great News. 
Monday, 9 p.m.
Great Scott
1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
$9, 18+, 800-745-3000
This Brooklyn band reminds us of the Strokes or Interpol with their taut New Wave energy and angular, melodic dueling guitars, but those guitars have a more monstrous, grungier sound, with occasional octave runs reminiscent of Jersey emo and a melodic sense more akin to the pop punk of Wavves. Anyone nostalgic for 00’s indie rock will find them quite familiar.