Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:

Dimock Center fundraiser

The 31st annual “Steppin’ Out for Dimock” gala will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Westin Copley Place Boston, 10 Huntington Ave.

The black tie benefit will help support programs and services of the Dimock Center, a provider of comprehensive health care to the underserved families of Boston.

The evening will feature food, dancing and great music. The impressive lineup of performers will include Sanofi Genzyme, Regina Belle and headliners En Vogue. MC Lyte will entertain at the after-party.

Tickets and more information are available at

Women in Muslim history

The Nichols House will present “Women of Legend in Muslim History” with Dr. Celene Ibrahim of Tufts University from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St.

In this lecture, Ibrahim will dive into the rich trove of Muslim women’s history, ancient and modern, to explore the many spheres of women’s leadership. From towering women figures in the domain of religion, to major civilization achievements lead by women philanthropists, to the multiple contexts wherein Muslim women have become heads of state and major global actors and activists, she will explore factors that enabled these women to rise to greatness, their continuing legacy and what work remains for the heroines of tomorrow.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for members and can be purchased online at or by calling 617-227-6993.

Boston gangland

Journalist and author Emily Sweeney will be the guest speaker in a free program from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St.

Sweeney is the author of “Gangland Boston: A Tour Through the Deadly Streets of Organized Crime.”

Drawing upon years of research and an extensive collection of rare photographs, she will shed light on how gang violence unfolded during Prohibition, how the Italian mafia rose to power and how the Gustin Gang came to be. She will also uncover little-known facts about well-known crime figures.

For further information, call 617-536-5400 or visit

Highland retreats

The New England Historical Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will welcome historian and author Mary Miers in a lecture “Highland Retreats: The Architecture and Interiors of Scotland’s Romantic North” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.

Until the late 18th century, northern Scotland was regarded as a lawless land scarred by centuries of clan feuds and economic crises. The Romantic Movement in literature and art changed that perception with the image of the Celtic hero in sublime settings, attracting painters and writers such as Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, John Keats and J.M.W. Turner and the Highlands became a holiday spot for the rich.

These newcomers left a legacy of architecture and decoration inspired by the romance of the Highlands, from picturesque cottages ornées and Scotch baronial castles to Arts and Crafts mansions and modern eco-lodges. Miers will explore the history and social context of these houses, some of which survive in their original state and are still owned by descendants of the families who built them. She will illustrate her talk with photographs from the famous Country Life Picture Library, combined with many historic images that have been previously unpublished.

Tickets are $35 for members and $45 for non-members and can be purchased through the Royal Oak Foundation, co-sponsors of this program.

Visit or call 617-536-5740 for further information and to register.

Musical duo

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will welcome Sonny and Perley in concert at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.

The husband and wife team Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau have spent the last several years developing and perfecting their unique blend of jazz, bossa nova, American Songbook standards and international cabaret. They engagingly perform the timeless standards of the Great American Songbook such as Gershwin and Porter as well as the bossa nova melodies of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for more details.

New England fashions

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will present “Fashioning the New England Family” from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Material culture specialist and guest curator Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore rarely seen costumes, textiles and fashion-related accessories mined from the MHS collection. Representing 300 years of evolving New England style, most of the pieces have never before been on view to the public.

Admission is free.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-646-0560.

Mansion tour

A public one-hour tour of the Ayer Mansion, 395 Commonwealth Ave., which showcases the striking interior and exterior embellishments designed and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, will be offered at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Reservations are required as space is limited Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.

To make a reservation, visit or call 617-536-2586.

Bach cantatas

Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., is presenting its 42nd season of the J. S. Bach Cantatas at 10 a.m. on Sundays now through May 12.

The orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present weekly performances of the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach and others, conducted by Ryan Turner.

For more information, call 617-536-3356 or visit

Library tours

Boston Public Library volunteers will give art and architecture tours of the McKim Building, a National Historic Landmark, in its main building, constructed in 1895, throughout the week.

Highlights include the murals of John Singer Sargent, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Edwin Austin Abbey and the work of architect Charles Follen McKim.

Self-guided tours are available as well, and literature describing the architectural highlights is available on the web at

For tours by appointment, call 617-536-5400.