Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:

Ballot drop boxes

Ballot drop boxes will be available outside the main entrances of the following Boston Public Library locations - note, not the South End Branch, probably because it's relatively close to the Central Library:

Central (Johnson Building - on the right of the Boylston Street entrance), Brighton, Charlestown, East Boston, Fields Corner, Grove Hall, Honan-Allston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Parker Hill, Roxbury, South Boston and West Roxbury.

The boxes are in place now and available until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 - Election Day. Please visit www.boston.gov/news/mail-voting-information-city-boston for the full list of ballot drop box locations and other information about voting by mail in Boston.

Note that these are drop boxes for mail-in ballots: the deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot is Oct. 28.

Book Tasters

Looking for a new book, a recipe or just something to do?

Join the Boston Public Library from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 for Book Tasters.

Aimed at students in 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.

E-mail Librarians Patty and Rebecca (rfox@bpl.org) to register and receive a Zoom link. Families are welcome.

‘How to Hide an Empire’

Look at a map of the United States and you'll see the familiar cluster of states in North America, plus Hawai'i and Alaska in boxes. But what about Puerto Rico? What about American Samoa? The country has held overseas territory – lands containing millions of U.S. nationals – for the bulk of its history. They don't appear often in textbooks, but the outposts and colonies of the United States have been central to its history.

Boston Public Library President David Leonard will talk with Daniel Immerwahr to explore what U.S. history would look like if it weren't just the history of the continental states, but of all U.S. land: the Greater United States at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26.

This virtual conversation with the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library is part of the Lowell Lecture Series, produced by GBH’s Forum Network.

Go to www.wgbh.org/events/bearing-witness-how-to-hide-an-empire-the-story-of-the-greater-united-states-virtual for more information and registration.

An explosion of beauty British country houses

“Nowhere in the world are there so many country houses as in England, matchless for the astonishing variety of their styles and the richness of their collections and furniture.” This quote from the English architectural historian John Harris sums up what many scholars believe is Britain’s greatest and most lasting contribution to world culture: the country house.

Curator of Special Collections and celebrated architectural historian Curt DiCamillo, FRSA will guide people through these stately homes, their interiors and their world-class art collections, examining how each style influenced design and culture at “An Explosion of Beauty: The Art, Architecture and Collections of British Country Houses” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays as follows:

Oct. 27: Baroque (1685–1725)

This American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society course includes three 90-minutes classes, access to the slides and a bibliography. You do not need to attend the live sessions to participate in the course. Each class will be recorded and made available to participants until the end of Jan. 31, 2021.

Visit www.americanancestors.org for more information and registration ($85).

Writing uncompensated emancipation into the lost cause

After the U.S. Civil War, white southerners claimed federal reimbursements for the value of freed slaves. Federal lawmakers rejected these claims in the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet, historians have long concluded that white southerners accepted uncompensated emancipation. Why did Americans forget these claims? This paper argues that white southerners abandoned them in the 1880s-1890s and rewrote history. They insisted that property in humans was “unprofitable,” and they did not need compensation after Confederate defeat.

This narrative helped them reestablish political power and absolve themselves of four years of bloodshed and generations of enslavement.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites people to join the online conversation with Amanda Kleintop of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with comments by Nina Silber of Boston University from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27 via Zoom.

Go to https://masshist.org/calendar for more information and registration.

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 Tuesday, Oct. 27 the group will discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and the link to Zoom.

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 Spooky October Read on Oct. 27 is The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Un Mois, Un Livre: L’art de perdre de Alice Zeniter

Join professor Sandra Chaouche in her virtual library for an in-depth discussion of Alice Zeniter's L'art de perdre from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 via Zoom.

This online literature workshop is part of the Un Mois, Un Livre series and is intended for intermediate to advanced French speakers (B1+).

Go to https://frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and registration (Member $40/Non-member $45).

Author Talk for Teens

The Boston Public Library from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 as they host author and artist Ngozi Ukazu for a talk and Q&A about her bestselling graphic novel series Check, Please!

Check, Please! follows Bitty throughout his four years at college as he falls in love, comes out and competes for an NCAA ice hockey championship.

Ukazu began the project as a webcomic and it went on to become the most funded webcomics Kickstarter ever as well as a New York Times best seller. She was a 2019 YALSA Morris Award Finalist for Check, Please!

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration. A Zoom link will be provided to all registered teens, ages 13 through 18, prior to the event.

Climate action for everyone: A learning circle

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,” (based on the University of Michigan’s “Act on Climate”) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays through Nov. 4.

A key objective of this learning circle is to identify individual, community and political actions people can pursue to effectively address climate change and help create a more just and sustainable future. The weekly themes are as follows:

Oct. 28: Action Plans – This discussion will focus on the action plans participants have developed using what they've learned over the previous five weeks.

Nov. 4: Wrap Up – This final session will focus on participants’ reflective experience; collecting feedback on the format and content and discussing how to carry our learning forward into the future.

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.

Virtual family history benefit

Join American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society as they honor author and historian Jill Lepore on Thursday, Oct. 29.

The exclusive virtual reception with the honoree will begin at 5 p.m. The program will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The program will include the presentation of the honoree’s genealogy by D. Brenton Simons and talk by Jill Lepore – American Ancestors: Reading Portraits followed by Q&A with the audience.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker, a celebrated author and the host of the podcast The Last Archive. 

A prize-winning professor, she teaches classes in evidence, historical methods, humanistic inquiry and American history. As a wide-ranging and prolific essayist, Lepore writes about American history, law, literature and politics. She is the author of many award-winning books, including the international bestseller, These Truths: A History of the United States (2018). Her latest book is IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. 

Visit www.americanancestors.org for more information and registration ($65 General Program; Sponsorship levels available).

‘Jefferson: Then and Now’

The reputations of all of the founders have changed dramatically over the course of American history, none more than that of Thomas Jefferson. Historians Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard University) and Peter Onuf (University of Virginia) will discuss the implications of recent political and social developments for the image of the slave-owning author of the Declaration of Independence, emphasizing the importance of situating Jefferson in his own historical context for a better understanding of the history and future prospects of democracy in America. The discussion takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Go to https://masshist.org/calendar for more information and registration.

Online discussion to celebrate the ‘Year of La Bande Dessinée’

The French Cultural Center will host an online conversation to celebrate the Year of La Bande Dessinée, led by Liliane Duséwoir, Ingrid Marquardt and Willem de Grave from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. The conversation will focus on some very talented graphic novelists and their brilliant work.

The Center’s hosts will introduce you to the fascinating works of Pénelope Bagieu, Jul’ Maroh, Emma and Rokhaya Diallo. The participants will learn what these voices bring to bande dessinée, how their work stands out, how they give visibility to diverse characters and cast a new gaze on female characters.

This conversation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Go to https://frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and registration (Members - $5/Non-members - $7).

Support the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade is the stretch of public green space that extends for three miles one way along the Boston shore of the Charles River from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University (BU) Bridge.

In addition to providing a beautiful natural landscape, the park is home to the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell, various historical monuments, recreational facilities and more than five miles of pathway for walking, running or biking.

Please consider making a donation to the Esplanade Association to help keep the green space thriving and the activities alive.

People’s support of Esplanade Association is more critical than ever before, especially since the annual Moonlight Gala was canceled and this event typically makes up 50 percent of their operating revenue. All donations are tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Visit https://esplanade.org for more information and links to donate.

The Bach Cantata Series 2020 - 2021

The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Artistic Director Ryan Turner, has returned to Emmanuel Church for the 2020-2021 Bach Cantata Series. As they were originally written for worship services, these cantatas are presented at the culmination of the 10 a.m. Sunday liturgy at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., where Emmanuel Music is the Ensemble-in-Residence. The series will be held through May 9 with a special Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Those aiming to hear just the cantatas are welcome to join at approximately 11 a.m., but both organizations encourage all to join at any time during the service with the motto that “the longer you are here, the more you will hear.”

The services are open to all with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The service including the Bach Cantata will be streamed live on Emmanuel Music's and Emmanuel Church's Facebook pages.

For more information, visit www.emmanuelboston.org and/or www.emmanuelmusic.org.

Early literacy playgroup (on Zoom)

Parents and caregivers with children, five 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.

‘Girls Who Code’

Girls in Grades 3 through 5, come together weekly to learn simple computer programming, make new friends and learn to change the world with computer science.

“Girls Who Code” is a free eight-week afterschool Zoom club, taught by computer whiz Jennifer Greenberg.

Join for all eight classes being held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays through Dec. 7.

Those interested in registering should email Librarian Rebecca at rfox@bpl.org.

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.

ESL Singing Group

Do you love music? Do you love to sing? Do you want to learn English and sing with new friends? Join the E.S.L. Singing Group.

Led by Associate Conductor Katherine Chan from the Back Bay Chorale, people will learn basic singing skills and songs in English. At the end of each class, participants will have the opportunity to make new friends and practice English conversation skills. No previous music skills required.

Classes take place from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. on most Tuesdays through Dec. 8 on Zoom.

It’s free – register at https://bbcboston.org/bridges/esl and come ready to sing.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information.

‘SPOOK Select’

Teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join an ooky, spooky two-part mystery featuring Boston Public Library teen services twitch ghosts Laura and Allie as they navigate famed teen detective Nancy Drew through the uninhabited corridors of Thornton Hall.

The final two-part "Spook Select" Halloween mystery teen gaming event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27 in the Virtual Teen Room.

Visit bpl.org/events for more details, including registration.

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.

Family Book Club

Book lovers entering Grades K through 3 and their families can come together on Zoom to discover new chapter books, chat and tackle book-inspired games and crafts from 4 to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month.

Email librarians Patty and Rebecca (rfox@bpl.org) to register and receive the link to the Boston Public Library’s Zoom room.

Future Readers Book Club

The Boston Public Library will host the Future Readers Club for children, ages 5 years and younger, and their caregivers, with a goal of reading 1,000 books together before the child begins kindergarten.

Register at bpl.org to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at bostonpl.beanstack.org.

In addition, the BPL offers an assortment of programs as part of the Future Readers Club to engage children in stories, songs, finger play and crafts.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration to each event.

Solo exhibition: Donald Jurney

Donald Jurney’s work is firmly rooted in the great landscape tradition, stretching from Dutch 17th century painting through the Barbizon and Hudson River Schools, to late 19th and early 20th century French and American impressionism. People cannot mistake the evidence that his work is also informed and enlivened by the influence of modern painting. It is this union, one of timeless motif and of lively surface, that distinguishes his work from both his predecessors and his contemporaries, making his paintings very much of our time, and instantly recognizable.

This solo exhibition will be on view through Saturday, Oct. 31 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.

‘Dear Old New England’

“Dear Old New England” features 44 paintings by Guild artist Frederick Kubitz. Each of these pieces communicate the unique character of New England and its people.

This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, Dec. 5 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.

BPL Teens Book Club on Twitch – K-POP the Question

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn't dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn't call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop and to do that, she's about to break all the rules that society, the media and even her own mother have set for girls such as her. She'll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she'll do it better than anyone else.

Join a group of teen librarians as they discuss I'll Be the One, the November Teens Book Club pick and the YA debut of author Lyla Lee on BPL's Teen Services Twitch Channel,

Twitch.tv/BPLts, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Whether or not they have read I'll Be the One, teens are encouraged to join the conversation, sharing their favorite content from Adventures in Fandom teen booklist or other great sources.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and the link to join.

‘The Ghost Light Series’

The Ghost Light Series, a live music program filmed onstage at the Wang Theatre which premiered at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, will air every other week in the same time slot on New England’s Connection Network (NECN).

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.

Upcoming performance dates:

Nov. 6 - Noel Paul Stookey, Jonathan Edwards, Tom Rush

Nov. 20 - Will Dailey

Dec. 4 - Livingston Taylor

Visit bochcenter.org for more information.

BSRA

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.

Nov. 7: San Francisco Scenes, 1956-2002

Clark Frazier will present rail transit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of this show will focus on the San Francisco Municipal Railway in the 1950s and 1960s, but it will also include later PCC operation and the emergence of historic streetcar operation in the 1980s, plus a few bonus photos of cable cars, the Key System, and BART.

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.

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.

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.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information

Boston Eats will continue to provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth - 18 years of age and under - through Dec. 31. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations and other information.

Visit foodpantries.org for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.

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.

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.

Boston Ballet

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.

‘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.