Weekend Picks: Cirque Du Soleil's Two Shows06:51

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US singer and keyboard player Amanda Palmer performs on stage with her new band Grand Theft Orchestra in Berlin, Germany on June 14. (AP)
US singer and keyboard player Amanda Palmer performs on stage with her new band Grand Theft Orchestra in Berlin, Germany on June 14. (AP)

Well, it's Thursday, and that means it's time to start thinking about ways to spend the weekend, assuming that you're going need at least a bit of a break from the Olympics.

Joining us to share his picks is Jim Sullivan, editor of

What: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Where: The Middle East Downstairs

When: Thursday, August 2 at 8:00 p.m.

Price: $20 *tickets are sold out*

More: Amanda is performing the last of her three Boston shows tonight at the Middle East Downstairs, and she's appearing with the Australian trio Grand Theft Orchestra. Amanda worked with these guys on her new album, "Theatre is Evil."

Both the album and this tour were financed by a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $1 million, way surpassing her $100,000 goal.

While we might claim Amanda Palmer as our own — she is from Lexington and launched the Dresden Dolls in the Boston club scene — she is really the world’s girl. She has more than 500,000 Twitter followers and was a pioneer in the world of social networking. Palmer has noted that ss the record industry collapses, artists need to form more intimate bonds with their fans.

What: Billy Gardel

Where: The Strand, 543 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA, 617.635.1403

When: August 3 at 8:00 p.m.

Price: $25, tickets can be purchased here

More: You might know comedian Billy Gardell from his co-starring role as the cop on the sit-com “Mike and Molly", but he was actually doing stand-up for 22 years before his “Mike and Molly” break. He's loud and boisterous, a beleaguered, working-class everyman type. He says he’s too old to run, fight or act cool, and he's joked that his life “is half over and [he] played a sloppy first half", saying "I didn’t think the game wasgonna go this long.”

The performance is a benefit for Right Turn, which is an Arlington-based addiction program that was founded by former Del Fuegos drummer, Woody Giessmann, who was once crippled by drugs and drink and is now a licensed addiction specialist and interventionist. Woody calls it the “coolest place to get clean and sober.” Gardell has received help from Right Turn, and the program actually deals with a lot of artists and musicians through an intensive outpatient and residential housing addiction program.

What: Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour"

Where: TD Garden

When:  August 3 and August 4 at 8:00 p.m.

Price: Tickets start at $64.35

More:  This show is all about Michael Jackson and the idea that his music will never truly die, similar to Cirque du Soleil's Elvis and Beatles shows in Las Vegas. But this one, not surprisingly, is geared more toward dance than acrobatics -- but there will be some aerial ballets and trapeze acts too. You’ll hear Jackson’s vocals with a live band and backup singers. There are over 60 performers, 250 costumes and video projections screens that are bigger than a basketball court.

What: Cirque du Soleil's "Totem"

Where: Boston Marine Industrial Park on the Waterfront

When:  Shows at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. until Sunday, August 5

Price: Regular Tickets start at $43.50

More: “Totem” is wrapping up on Sunday in the Seaport District, and this is the first time Cirque’s ever planted two shows in one city simultaneously.

This segment aired on August 2, 2012.