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Boston Book Festival

15 Oct

This year, the Boston Book Festival will take place in Copley Square from October 17th through the 19th. The book festival is a celebration of, of course, books. While the focus is on literature, the festival has many different events that would appeal to any taste. The scheduled activities include presentations by keynote speakers,  live music, interactive seminars, and kid-friendly activities. Presenters include Salman Rushdie, Wes Craven, and Claire Messud, among others.

The festival is free to attend but some presentations will have an entrance fee. Early arrival and reservations are suggested in order to ensure a spot at seminars. Like any festival, the Boston Book Festival will have vendors and food trucks. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can sign up to volunteer here.

ArtWeek Boston!

26 Sep

ArtWeek Boston is a biannual event that, similar to Restaurant Week, gives people an opportunity to experience things they normally would not be able to see. This year, the event takes place from September 27th to October 6th. True to the name, the events will take place over the course of the week, some lasting for the entire week while others are one-time only.

ArtWeek Boston was created out of the Citi Performing Arts Center’s desire to spread art and entertainment to a larger community throughout Boston. Although the event officially begins on Friday, some art installations have already been set up, including Play Me, I’m Yours, which features playable pianos placed throughout the city. ArtWeek Boston manages to showcase all forms of art, from visual to performance, through the many different events offered throughout the week. Not all of the events are free, so be sure to check out ArtWeek’s website prior to arriving at an event.

Boston Calling Part II

5 Sep

Boston Calling returns to Boston this weekend after a successful debut in May. The music festival is taking place September 7-8th in City Hall Plaza with acts starting at 12:50 pm.

Boston Calling was meant to be Boston’s own music festival, showcasing not only some of Boston’s talent, but the culture of the city. Its success brought Boston some much desired attention with respect to the music scene but not all of it was positive. People lamented the festival’s lack of diversity on stage; the festival featured mostly pop-rock and indie music. Although this might appeal to only a small population, the first Boston Calling sold out well in advance of the show. Due to the success of the first festival, the organizers really only wanted to change the line-up. This time around, the festival features Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazor, and Solange, among others to increase the festival’s diversity. It’s clear the organizers aimed to appeal to a larger crowd. The festival is remaining fairly small for the time being, with only 20 acts, but that makes it easy for festival goers to catch all the shows.

Tickets are currently still on sale. Check out the website for a full line up.

Labor Day Events

29 Aug

Boston is holding several events in honor of Labor Day Weekend. If you want to take a break from your grilling, check out some of these festivals and events.

The Boston Arts Festival:

This free festival will showcase visual, performance, and craft art from over 60 artists and includes interactive booths.  It runs from Saturday to Sunday and takes place in the Christopher Columbus Park along the Boston Harbor. There will also be a firework display (from the Boston Harbor Cruise) visible from the festival.

Frank Hatch Free Day:

Held at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, Frank Hatch Free Day is a day where admission to the museum is free. Visitors can access the entire museum, including the courtyards and the recently opened wing designed by Renzo Piano. Tickets will be handed out in 30 minute intervals starting at 11 am and ending at 4 pm.

Mass Brewers Fest:

This 21+ event features more than 80 different beers to sample from over 30 local Massachusetts breweries. Live music and food will also be available at the festival.

Labor Day Concert:

This concert will feature French recorder player Heloise Dégrugillier playing a program of G.F. Handel’s recorder sonatas accompanied by Bálint Karosi on the harpsichord. The concert, taking place in the First Lutheran Church of Boston, is followed by a rootbeer float reception. Tickets start at $10.

Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade Music Festival:

On Saturday from 2-7pm, Ben & Jerry’s will be giving out samples of their fair trade treats, while the Ryan Monbleau Band performs. The festival is free to guests and takes place at the Prudential Center.

Christmas in September

27 Aug

It’s that special time of year again. This weekend marks the beginning of Allston Christmas, which takes place on September 1st in Allston, Fenway, Cambridge, Brookline, Brighton, and Mission Hill (The neighborhoods are heavily populated by students.) Around this time of year, when people are making transitions in housing, movers tend to leave their unwanted goods on the sidewalks for anyone to take. This “free-for-all” has come to be known as “Allston Christmas.”

Allston Christmas might be good for people trying to find slightly used items on the cheap, but not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. The city is concerned about the potential health risks, such as spreading infestations of bed bugs. They have started warning scavengers by leaving signs that dissuade people from taking items and have also increased garbage pick up times on the first. Some residents have also had items stolen in the chaos of moving; not every item left unattended on the street is free to a good home. All the moving also causes traffic delays.

If you’re willing to brave the potential health risks, Allston Christmas might be the way to spend your Labor Day weekend.

DIY Fest

6 Aug

Allston’s infamous DIY Fest is back for the fourth year in a row. DIY Fest began in 2009 as a way to celebrate the growing “gift economy.” “Gift economy” revolves around the core idea of gift-giving: sharing an item or a service with no expectation of something in return. The festival is a one day event, taking place on Saturday August 24th in Ringer Park and running from 11 AM to 4 PM. It is free to visit, open to all ages, and a “sober” event, meaning people are not encouraged to bring alcohol or be under the influence when they visit.

In the past, the DIY Fest has received complaints about its effect on the neighborhood, including noise complaints, disrupting traffic, and public safety concerns. These were of concern to the city government and it almost cost the festival its event permit for the year. Due to some compromise on both the city and festival’s parts, the event is back, but it will end earlier than in past years.

During the DIY Fest, visitors can indulge in DIY crafts and workshops, music shows on three different stages, skillshares, and anything else related to DIY culture. Visitors are encouraged to bring their art, crafts, acoustic instruments, and hula hoops to the festival.

For more information, visit the event’s website or their blog.


2 Aug

Boston is hosting it’s own comic-con this weekend! Comic-Con is a convention, open to anyone, celebrating comics and related art and media. The idea of Comic-Con was first realized in San Diego in 1970 and it’s been a popular attraction ever since. Boston’s version, started by Framingham native, Nick Kanieff, is expecting around 15,000 attendees this year. Originally, the convention was scheduled to start the weekend after the Boston Marathon, but it was postponed until August.

Festivities kicked off on Wednesday with a small costume contest in Faneuil Hall. Taking place at the Seaport World Trade Center, Comic Con is open August 3rd and 4th. Expected appearances include Laurie Holden of “The Walking Dead” and Kristin Bauer of “True Blood”. Comic-Con is featuring a film festival, gaming tournaments, artist comic panels, and another costume contest among other things. Tickets start at $25 for one day entry. More details can be found on the convention’s website.

Restaurant Week

27 Jul

Restaurant Week returns to Boston this August, bringing with it some new restaurants. This year, the week has been set for August 18-23 and the 25-30. During the week, visitors to participating restaurants have the option to order from a fixed price menu. A two-course lunch is $15.13, a three-course lunch is $20.13, and a three-course dinner is $38.13. The prices are per person and do not include beverages or gratuity, but it still is a deal for most of the participating restaurants. The lowered prices are meant to entice new customers, perhaps creating regulars in the process. It makes being adventurous a little more attractive by lowering the price tag.

The restaurants taking part are located all over the city and there is a wide range of different types of cuisine, to suit any taste. This doesn’t require tickets, passes, or even reservations (although reservations are strongly encouraged); patrons can simply walk in and request the menu. New to the restaurant week scene are: Abbey Lane, House of Blues, Bronwyn, Moksa, Fogo de Chao, Finch at the Boxer, and BoMA. Check out a list of all the participating restaurants here.

Summer Fun Without the Sun

10 Jul

It’s an exciting time for Boston’s art and culture scene, with some fresh exhibits in Boston’s many museums. The Museum of Fine Art (MFA) is currently showing Samurai!: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection. This exhibit, which runs through August 4th, showcases some of Japan’s exciting history. Drawing from one of the most extensive collections in the world, some of the pieces date back as early as the 12th century.

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) comes alive in the summer time with The Art of Summer. With events ranging from new exhibits to a pop-up oyster bar, there is something for everyone. There are even family friendly events including Free Fun Fridays (8/16), when the museum is open at no cost to patrons.

If art is not your cup of tea, the Museum of Science is currently featuring Dead Sea Scrolls: Life in Ancient Times. This exhibit features some pieces that have never before been showcased in North America, including Biblical texts and a stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

The New England Aquarium recently underwent a makeover and now features more animals than before. The Giant Ocean Tank now has more windows for ease of viewing and includes new creatures and coral formations. Currently there are about 2,000 fish in the tank, which also holds sea turtles and a fan-favorite, sharks.

In the mood for something different? Check out the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). More of a small gallery than an actual museum, the Museum of Bad Art showcases none other than “bad art.” Featuring pieces from all over, the art ranges from strange to just plain awful. The MOBA has two buildings, one in the Somerville Theater and another in the Brookline Access Television building. The best part is you can view select pieces right from home just by heading to their website.

Summer Solstice 2013

20 Jun

The summer solstice marks the day that the Northern Hemisphere officially begins summer season, and is the longest day of the year.

Every June 21-23, Boston kicks off the summer season and recognizes the Solstice with a variety of special outdoor festivities. Here are some fun, family events that will take place throughout Boston during the 2013 Solstice.

One Summer Solstice party is Make Music Harvard Square, Saturday June 22. This free festival features over 75 local bands that play of a variety of music, and attracts about 10,000 attendees that range from music-lovers to those simply exploring the square.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History will also be celebrating the Solstice with live music, ice cream, hands-on activities, and free admission to all four of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC): the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (CHSI), the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Harvard Semitic Museum.

History buffs may enjoy the Summer Solstice Stroll, a guided tour of the Hancock Tower, Boston Public Library’s Civil War Exhibitions, and Old South Church.

And for those who really want to start summer season with a kick, the 2013 Summer Solstice Sprint Triathlon is a unique evening race that includes a quarter-mile swim in Lake Singletary, a 10-mile bike loop, and a 5K run as the sun sets.

Summer Solstice in Boston offers a little something for everyone, so start your summer here and enjoy the longest day of the year.