Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:
‘GroundBeat: AfroDesiaCity-Fierce Urgency of Now’
The Esplanade Association will present “GroundBeat: A Virtual Concert,” featuring AfroDesiaCity from 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19.
GroundBeat is the free Riverfront Music Series that aims to increase opportunities to perform on the Esplanade for producers and artists across greater Boston who are committed to increasing inclusivity and diversity in Boston’s arts scene.
Performers for “GroundBeat: A Virtual Concert” will include George Russell lll and Guyclaude Lacossade.
For more information visit, https://esplanade.org/events and/or www.afrodesiacity.com.
Go to eventbrite.com/e/groundbeat-a-virtual-concert-featuring-afrodesiacity-fierce-urgency-of-now-tickets-117696446239 for tickets.
Shofar/tashlich family ceremonies
Join Chabad of Downtown Boston and get into the High Holiday spirit and celebrate with a brief Rosh Hashanah family-friendly celebration on Sunday, Sept. 20. Services are open to all and are free of charge.
All services will be held outdoors following all MA health guidelines as follows:
9:30-10 a.m. – Shofar ceremony at Copley Place (on the stairs of the Boston Public Library)
The short ceremony includes shofar blowing, pre-packaged Rosh Hashanah treats for children and brief holiday inspiration.
5:30-6 p.m. – Shofar and Tashlich ceremony at the Public Garden (at the swan boat dock)
The short ceremony includes shofar blowing, pre-packaged Rosh Hashanah treats for children and tashlich ceremony, when people symbolically throw their mistakes in the water.
Reservation appreciated (but not required).
Visit www.chabaddowntownboston.org for more information.
Two new exhibits at Pucker Gallery
Two new exhibitions will be on view at the Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St. (third floor) through Sept. 20.
A booklet with colorful illustrations outlining the exhibition of Ongoing Conversation: Birds in the Art of Samuel Bak and a fine collection of art depicted in Fine Choices 2020 are available for perusing online for the gallery viewing.
Visit www.puckergallery.com for more information, including gallery hours.
‘The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and the Making of the Cold War’
A key figure in American foreign policy for three decades, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts, a well-heeled eastern establishment Republican, put duty over partisanship to serve as advisor to five presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Gerald Ford and as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Vietnam, West Germany and the Vatican.
Historian Luke A. Nichter (Texas A&M University-Central Texas) will present a compelling narrative of Lodge’s extraordinary and consequential life and his immense political influence
from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration.
Author Jennifer De Leon: ‘Don't Ask Me Where I'm From’
Join the Boston Public Library and The Associates of the Boston Public Library for an online author talk with Jennifer De Leon about her upcoming book Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, written when she was the 2015-2016 Associates of the BPL Writer-in-Residence.
Christopher Jacobs, Teen Technology Coordinator at the BPL, will moderate this program, slated for noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
In the book, first-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.
Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall - or rather, walls.
But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.
New parent group (on Zoom)
Looking for a way to meet other parents with infants? Need support from experts while navigating new challenges? Have questions about childhood development, parenting, and early literacy? Join Boston Public Library’s new parent group.
The group will meet on Zoom from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays for an informal – and informative – program for families with infants, birth to 12 months.
The group will open with an opportunity to connect with other new parents and get early literacy recommendations from your librarians. Then a guest speaker will present a topic of interest, such as diapering, napping, feeding, early communication, and general wellness for parents and infants.
On Sept. 22, after introductions and conversations, the guest speaker, Sheryl White of Baby Kneads will speak at 1:30 p.m. about early communication and signing with your infant.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration for this drop-in program.
Twitch ‘Stage Select’ gaming
Teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join the BPL Teen Librarians for "Stage Select" gaming on Twitch from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept, 22, Oct. 6 and Oct. 20 in the Virtual Teen Room.
They’ll be discovering a mysterious new game that most of us have never played before. Will they saunter through the quirky, winding halls of The Stanley Parable…? Bend their brains pushing puzzles around in Baba Is You…? Lose their marbles in Marbles...?
You’ll have to stop by to discover each game along with them, lending your mental magnitude to help them make key decisions, develop strategies, and just have fun hanging out, joking around, chatting about life and even recommending the next game.
Visit bpl.org/events for more details, including registration.
‘The Horrid Deeds of our Enemies’
The Massachusetts Historical Society will hold The Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar, featuring Lauren Duval (University of Oklahoma) as she presents “The Horrid Deeds of our Enemies” from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The American Revolution was waged not only on the battlefield, but in the realm of culture. American homes and the wartime violence within them - particularly directed against women - were prominent subjects in novels and historical paintings. Reimagining women’s interactions with British soldiers solely as relationships of violence and deception, not volition, these narratives promoted a gendered vision of wartime domestic invasion and violation that would, in memory, come to define the war’s devastation and contribute to emergent ideas about the meaning of independence.
The Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar invites people to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper.
Purchasing a $25 seminar subscription gives you advanced access to the seminar papers of all seven-seminar series for the current academic year.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration for this free seminar.
Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Online Book Group
The Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Boston Public Library's Central Library is geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s and meets every fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. on line. They cover a wide variety of genres including historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, among others.
The Sept. 22 read will be An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the video chat link.
Living Room Conversations
The Boston Public Library will host Living Room Conversations from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays through Oct. 7.
The topics of conversation will take place as follows:
Sept. 23: Self-Care
Sept. 30: What is Essentials?
Oct. 7: Unity
Facilitated by library staff members, these conversations offer a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships.
Registration is required at bpl.org/events. Zoom online meeting link will be emailed to registered participants two days before the event.
Join the Boston Public Library from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month for Book Tasters.
Aimed at Grades 4 through 6, the group will talk books, then craft, play games and chat over Zoom. At the end of each session, participants will get a new recipe to try at home.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
E-mail Librarians Patty and Rebecca (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register and receive a Zoom link. Families are welcome.
‘Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French’
The Massachusetts Historical Society will host Harold Holzer (Hunter College) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 as he presents “Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French.”
Daniel Chester French is America's best-known sculptor of public monuments, having created the statue for the Lincoln Memorial, the John Harvard statue and the Minute Man statue in Concord.
This new biography combines rich personal details from French's life with a nuanced study of his artistic evolution. It explores French’s diligent dedication to perfecting his craft with beautiful archival photographs of his life and work.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration.
Climate Change Series at BPL
Concerned about climate change? Want to understand and respond to this challenge? The Boston Public Library will host a seven-week online series, “Climate Action for Everyone: A Learning Circle,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays from Sept. 23 through Nov. 4.
Learning circles are lightly-facilitated groups for people who want to learn together in a collaborative, peer-led, supportive environment. A key objective of this one is to identify individual, community, and political actions you can pursue to effectively address climate change and help create a more just and sustainable future.
The BPL will base the series on the University of Michigan’s “Act on Climate” course, which covers several topics, including food, energy, transportation, and the built environment (cities), and action plans.
Participants will read and view course content prior to each online meeting. Notably, the learning circle will include material about Massachusetts and each session will feature a local expert sharing insights and experiences as part of the discussion.
This program is presented as part of Climate Preparedness Week 2020, an initiative of Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) and everyone is welcome.
Visit bibliocommons.com/events for more information and registration.
Carmela Cattuti: ‘Between the Cracks’ & ‘The Ascent’
As part of the Boston Public Library’s Never Too Late series created with older adults (55+) in mind, please join them for a talk with Carmela Cattuti, author of Between the Cracks and The Ascent from 2 to 3 pm. on Thursday, Sept. 24.
Between the Cracks is based on Cattuti’s great aunt’s journey from Sicily to America. The Ascent continues the story in the new world and examines her influence on three generations of Americans. Cattuti is currently writing the third novel in the series.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration to receive the Zoom link.
‘The Struggle for Freedom: Patriots of Color at Bunker Hill’
The Shirley-Eustis House Association, Boston National Historical Park and the Gibson House Museum will host an online presentation followed by a Q&A at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 highlighting the lives of four Black men – some enslaved, some free – who fought against the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775.
Barzillai Lew, Cuff Blanchard-Chambers, Cuff Whittemore and Jude Hall were among the thousands of men of color who chose to fight with the Patriots in a war that seemed to hold no explicit promise of liberty for Black people.
Boston National Historical Park staff members Merrill Kohlhofer and Gabriella Hornbeck have combed through archival records and recent research to piece together the stories of these four men and their reasons for supporting the Patriot cause. The presentation offers a sample of the growing efforts among historians to revisit and revise the conventional stories we tell about the American Revolution.
This event is free of charge and open to the public.
For more information and registration, visit www.shirleyeustishouse.org or
‘The Ghost Light Series’
The Boch Center is launching the Ghost Light Series, a live music program filmed onstage at the Wang Theatre.
The Ghost Light Series will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 with The Mammals and air every other week in the same time slot on New England’s Connection (NECN).
The series will showcase critically acclaimed artists including Keb' Mo', Lori McKenna, The Mammals, Tom Rush, Noel Paul Stookey, Jonathan Edwards, among others.
For centuries, theatres around the world have had what is known as a Ghost Light, a single lamp left shining when everyone has left.
The legend is that this light protects actors, patrons and theatres from bad luck and ghosts. Each half-hour show in the Ghost Light Series will feature artists performing to an empty audience on the Boch Center stage illuminated only by the Ghost Light. There will be no amps and no spotlights - just the artists and their instruments, playing and sharing stories, and revealing what it is like to be a musician at a time when you are cut off from your audience.
Visit bochcenter.org for more information.
Build It! (on Zoom)
Children, ages 5-12, and their families are invited to join librarians Patty and Rebecca from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 to tackle a monthly building challenge.
They'll use supplies found in your homes, principles of engineering, and a lot of ingenuity.
Email Librarians Patty and Rebecca (email@example.com) to register and receive the link to their Zoom room.
‘The Society Ball: A Virtual Soirée’
The Handel and Haydn Society will host “The Society Ball: A Virtual Soirée” on Saturday, Sept. 26. The VIP Virtual Cocktail Reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the Public Livestream will start at 7 p.m.
Join in for a fun, joyous evening of great musical entertainment by and exclusive conversations with H+H stars, celebrated together with fellow music lovers. Proceeds support the educational and artistic programs of the Handel and Haydn Society.
Join for free through their live stream or purchase a virtual pass for additional exclusive access to performances, a cocktail hour with H+H musicians and a VIP gift box. People can also make a gift at any level to support the music.
Visit handelandhaydn.org/support/the-society-ball for more information and registration.
2020 New England Regional Juried Exhibition
The Annual New England Regional Juried Exhibition is a juried show featuring the best of representational painting, drawing and sculpture by New England artists who work in the realist tradition.
The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, Sept. 26 in the historic President's Gallery at the Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St.
Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and by appointment; Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Visit www.guildofbostonartists.org for more information.
Book Group for Adults on the Spectrum
A monthly online book discussion group for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions or who identify as such will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month hosted by the Boston Public Library and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).
Each month the attendees will read a novel, short story, memoir, self-help book, or essay, etc. of their choice and report back to the group.
On Sept. 29, the group will discuss Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove, which People magazine describes as “A charming debut…You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.”
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and the link to Zoom.
Activist Kids Book Club
The Boston Public Library is hosting the Kid Activist Book Club from 4 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Mar. 20
Throughout the 26-weeks, the group will focus on a different page in A is for Activist, read other picture books about the issues and movements discussed in the book, learn about kid activists throughout history and today, and talk about what everyone can do to make the world a little more just.
This group is best for kids, ages six and up.
Questions can be directed to the Roslindale Branch Children's Librarian Miss Celeste at
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.
Early literacy playgroup (on Zoom)
Parents and caregivers with children, 5 years old and younger, are invited to join Boston Public Library from 11:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays for an interactive and informal program that includes playtime, songs, conversation, and early literacy information.
Visit www.bpl.org/events for more information, including required registration. The Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.
Facebook Live Story Time: Tuesday Tales
Join the Children’s Library team for a live-streamed story time for children, ages 2 to 4 years old, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays through Oct. 27 at www.facebook.com/BPLchildren.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information.
Jackbox Party Gaming for Teens on Twitch
Teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join the BPL Teen Librarians for Jackbox Party Gaming on Twitch from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays through Oct. 28 in the Virtual Teen Room.
They’ll host a series of wacky, irreverent online games, all of which are designed to be played by large audiences.
Visit bpl.org/events for more details, including registration.
Free Bluebikes passes for essential workers
To assist re-opening efforts, the City of Boston is offering free Bluebikes passes to help people get to work at hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, or at restaurants and retail establishments in Boston (and other nearby areas) through Sept. 30.
Visit www.boston.gov/news/free-bluebikes-passes-essential-workers for more information, including pass applications.
Dream Boston: Five-minute audio plays
Welcome to Dream Boston, a future vision of this city that is somewhere between dream and reality, powered by the Huntington Theatre.
Through short audio plays, “Dream Boston” asks local playwrights to imagine their favorite locations, landmarks and friends in a future Boston when everyone can once again meet and thrive in the city.
These micro-plays take place at locations such as the MIT Great Dome on the 4th of July while the sounds of the “1812 Overture” float in the background, at the Boston Public Library during a minor dust-up between two bookworms, and a not-so-perfect first date on the edge of the Boston Common.
Visit www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/upcoming/dream-boston for more information and links to listen on your favorite podcast platforms.
Big Sister mentoring
Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.
The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide award-winning (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little sister’s family.
To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit www.bigsister.org.
Boston Project Podcast
The Boston Project is SpeakEasy’s new works initiative that supports the creation of new plays set in Boston. In an effort to reach a wider audience and engage with new work even while in quarantine, SpeakEasy has launched a new wing of this program – the Boston Project Podcast.
The SpeakEasy will bring people the first series of the podcast – a fully adapted, episodic version of The Usual Unusual by MJ Halberstadt, recorded by local artists, with one episode released a week.
The podcasts will be available at speakeasystage.com as well as on all your favorite podcast streaming platforms.
The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and promoting the history of public transportation in the Greater Boston area and New England since 1959.
The BSRA typically meets on the first Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m. with a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Oct. 3: Car Barns of Boston Elevated Division 1 | BSRA Annual Meeting
Leo Sullivan will present some Boston street railway shops and car barns through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including pictures, plans and narrative.
The BSRA online store is open.
Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.
Visit www.thebsra.org for more information.
Seniors’ Chair Yoga
Join Boston Public Library and Yoga Hub for Seniors’ Chair Yoga from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 via Zoom.
Seniors’ Chair Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting on a chair, or standing using a chair for support. People will learn calming postures and breathing techniques to open energy channels, release tension, and alleviate pain. This type of yoga is great for people to improve physical comfort, cultivate balance and move easily through daily activities. Participants will need an upright chair and computer or phone for the session.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and (early) registration.
Tai Chi for Wellness
Join the Boston Public Library for Tai Chi for Wellness from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 via Zoom.
This program is an introduction to Tai Chi, an ancient exercise rooted in China that consists of gentle and flowing posture. Movements are slow and repetitive and are coupled with a focus on the breath.
Eddie is a Tai Chi (Taijichuan) instructor who has studied martial arts for the past 25 years. His training includes studying White Crane Kungfu and Qigong under Grandmaster Woo Ching, as well as Yang Style Taijichuan and Taiji Ball under Grandmaster Yang Jwing Ming.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and (early) registration.
‘BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception’
From 17th century attempts to woo European settlers to the New World with maps that exaggerated natural resources, to a 2019 Sharpie-enhanced weather map designed to reshape the politics of disaster planning, maps and visual data have always been tools for manipulating reality.
In a wide-ranging, year-long initiative comprising exhibitions, programs and educational activities, “BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception” at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map & Education Center (Copley Square), offers a critical look at how to understand the world as it appears in geographic representations.
The show features historical and contemporary documents and interactive displays designed to show visitors the power of persuasive mapmaking and will be on view through May 2021.
Visit leventhalmap.org/bending-lines for more information.
Copley Square Farmers’ Market open
The Copley Square Farmers’ Market – Boston’s biggest and busiest – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays through Nov. 24.
The Farmers’ Market will offer a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat from more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers.
Copley Square vendors accept SNAP/EBT/HIP/Nutrition Vouchers for all eligible products.
Visit www.massfarmersmarkets.org/copley for more information - including shopping protocol.
Esplanade Association 2020 Moondance Gala
Based on the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic, the Esplanade Association has made the difficult decision to cancel the beloved Moondance Gala in 2020. After many conversations with chairs Carolina Säve-Natale, Bryan Natale, Margo Newman and Fred Newman, the safety of friends and supporters is their top priority. In addition, they determined it was not fiscally responsible to take on the financial risk associated with planning an event that could likely need to be cancelled at a later date.
The group thanks people who have considered making a gift to the Esplanade Association. People’s support of EA is more critical than ever before as this event typically makes up 50 percent of their operating revenue. All donations are fully tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.
Make gifts by using the secure online donation website below, using the Donor Advised Fund, giving appreciated securities or sending a check (payable to Esplanade Association) to Jim Diverio, Director of Development, Esplanade Association, 575 Boylston St., Suite 4R, Boston, MA 02116.
Call Jim Diverio at 617-837-2870 or visit https://esplanade.org/moondance for more information.
Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on www.bostonballet.org along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at www.facebook.com/bostonballet and/or www.instagram.com/bostonballet.
Support Boston Ballet at www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/Donate.
Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs need help
Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St.) needs partners to help them serve the increasing number of homeless and underserved during this critical time.
There are three specific ways that you can help make a difference:
1) Donate supplies listed on their Amazon account.
2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits and granola bars.
3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.
Visit www.commoncathedral.org for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.
Friday Night Supper Program emergency appeal
The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.
Your donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards. Help fill the gap with their Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.
Visit www.Fridaynightsupper.org to make a donation.
Support Women’s Lunch Place
Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. continues to serve women while maintaining all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.
WLP is open every day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides one take out package that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch with extra snacks to sustain their guests.
Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.
Visit www.womenslunchplace.org for more information.
Free summer ‘grab-and-go’ meals for children and adults
The City of Boston, in partnership with Project Bread, YMCA of Greater Boston, Boston Centers for Youth and Families and other community organizations, will provide free “grab and go” meals for Boston residents (adults and children) in need. No ID required.
Visit www.boston.gov and/or www.bostonpublicschools.org for a list of meal sites. There will also be a list of food pantries and soup kitchens.
Phone 617-635-3717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns or for other information.
If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.
BPL To Go and more
The Boston Public Library has launched the new “BPL to Go” program at 22 of the 26 locations.
Using the library website, phone line or the “BPL to Go” iPhone app, patrons will be able to “order” (place a hold on) items such as books, DVDs, and CDs and pick them up at the library. BPL has “Printing to Go” as well.
All branches will continue to offer a wide range of digital events and online resources.
Visit bpl.org/takeout to learn more.
Genealogy for the next generation
Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/youth.
These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.