Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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This turkey explored the second-floor balconies on a residential building on Commonwealth Avenue.

Point/Counterpoint: Fuguing in Renaissance Music

Enjoy the virtual premiere of the vibrant selection of Renaissance counterpoint from the wind ensemble Piffaro, presented by the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, available to watch through Dec. 9.

View for more information and tickets ($15).

‘Sisters of the Brush and Palette: Women Artists of the Guild’

The Guild of Boston Artists will present “Sisters of the Brush and Palette: Woman Artists of the Guild” at its Newbury Street gallery through Saturday, Nov. 27.

In this moment rich with discourse concerning diversity and gender equity in every industry, this exhibition celebrates the significant contributions of the Guild's contemporary female members to the cultural life of the city of Boston.

Visit for more information and reservations.

Barre en français

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in a barre class that focuses on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29 via Zoom. All levels of French and barre are welcome.

Visit for more information and reservations (Member: $8; Non-member: $12).

Hanukkah Story Time

Join the Boston Public Library librarians from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29 as the group learns about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights with songs, stories and dreidels.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

2021 Copley Square Tree Lighting

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department and The Friends of Copley Square welcome the holidays with the annual Copley Square Tree Lighting from 5 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29.

This family-friendly event is sure to get people in a festive mood with refreshments and giveaways. The lineup of local talent will keep the crowd singing classic holiday hits until the lights turn on.

Go to for more information.

2021 Lighting of The Commonwealth Avenue Mall

The City of Boston and The Committee to Light the Commonwealth Avenue Mall will light the trees on the Mall at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, immediately following the Boston Common Tree Lighting.

Join them as they hit the switch and celebrate the lighting of trees up and down the Commonwealth Avenue.

Go to for more information.

Kyle T. Mays: ‘An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States’

Join the Boston Public Library for an online talk at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29 with Kyle T. Mays, author of An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States, the first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

The Reinvention of Tradition: Conformist Nationalism in the United States, 1923-1931

In the 1920s, amid fears that American national identity was under threat from communism, pacifism and immigration, nationalist organizations in the United States standardized many of the patriotic rituals and traditions Americans performed in their daily lives.

This Nationalist Network, led by the American Legion and U.S. Flag Association, grew increasingly right-wing in this period, inventing and reinventing patriotic traditions to “Americanize” those who were already citizens and control their behavior to adhere to white, upper middle-class norms. These traditions reinforced existing racial and class hierarchies and defined American nationalism along exclusionary principles.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites you to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Go to for more information and Zoom registration.

Bonsai Bar

Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. will host a two-hour bonsai class at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30 that teaches people about the art of bonsai and lets participants create their own bonsai tree.

Every attendee will be able to select a bonsai tree and pot and be provided with the tools to prune, pot and design the tree under the instruction of a bonsai expert

Visit for more information and reservations ($50).

Increasing Housing Affordability in Boston: Why it Matters to Us All

Join the Boston Public Library for a citywide Zoom forum produced by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) Homelessness Task Force (HTF) about how to address the high cost of housing, which has been further exacerbated by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston Public Library President David Leonard will provide opening remarks and NABB President Patricia Noyes-Corrigan will serve as moderator. The panel discussion will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Visit for more information, including a list of the panelists and Zoom registration.

Four Centuries of Christmas in New England

This lecture traces the development of the celebration of Christmas from the time it was outlawed in 17th century New England through the beginning of the 21st century. Many of the customs that are part of the current celebrations are actually a product of more recent history. 

This program will look at how Christmas was transformed from a rowdy celebration into a family centered event. 

Among the topics discussed are how the Christmas Tree became popular, halls were decked and how Santa Clause came to town.

This event will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St. or on Zoom.

Visit for more information and Zoom/onsite registration.

Researching Civil War Ancestors

The American Civil War was a defining moment for the country, changing its trajectory forever. Nearly three million Americans served, resulting in approximately 750,000 casualties. Everyone living in America at that time was affected in some way by the events of 1861 to 1865 and its long aftermath.

Whether your ancestor wore blue or grey, this three-week online course, led by Chief Genealogist and military history expert David Allen Lambert, will explore the records, resources and strategies for tracing Civil War veterans in your family tree.

This course includes three 90-minute classes; exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation; and in-depth Q&A sessions with the instructor. This program will be Broadcast live from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, Dec. 8, and Dec. 15 on Zoom.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration ($85).

Julie Flavell: ‘The Howe Dynasty’

Many historians have documented the lives and exploits of Howe men, including Richard Admiral Lord Howe and his younger brother British General Sir William Howe, victor in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

But few have measured the influence of the Howe women, including sister Caroline Howe, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and her savvy aunt Mary Herbert Countess Pembroke.

Drawn from letters and correspondence, “The Howe Dynasty” sheds new light one of one of England’s most famous military families and forces us to reimagine the Revolutionary War.

Hear about this unique and riveting narrative work and Julie Flavell’s discussion with the celebrated historian Mary Beth Norton from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Challenge or Be Challenged:’ the Par-Links Black Women’s Golf Club in East Bay

The Par-Links Golf Club was an association of Black women golfers founded in 1958 in East Bay, Oakland. Using photographs, organizational documents and scrapbooks, this paper examines the possibilities and realities of Black leisure, recreation and community care and play practices before the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

It places Par-Links in the context of the burgeoning sport, the development of Black golf clubs and within the local and national fights to desegregate public golf courses and professional golf in US Civil Rights Movement histories. 

The African American History Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St. or on Zoom.

Go to for more information and Zoom/onsite registration.

Charlie Gibson’s Queer Boston

Explore the Gibson House, 137 Beacon St.  and the gay subculture of early 20th-century Boston through Charlie Gibson's eyes at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2.

The story of the Museum's founder is one of legacy and family history, of the fading grandeur of Victorian-era Boston and of Boston's LGBTQ history.

Visit for more information and reservations ($5 to $15​).

Gay Men's Coffee Connections

The Gay Men’s Coffee Connections will be held at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Feel free to listen or engage in discussion about experiences as gay men.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, join Anthony, Darrell, and Al to discuss the conversation prompt: "What holiday traditions have you started or added to your celebrations to make the holiday season extra special?"

Join with video at Meeting ID is 965 8384 3564 and passcode is 822135.

The Music of Billie Eilish

Berklee students will perform Eilish’s music, spanning from her early Soundcloud releases to her latest album, Happier Than Ever.

This Signature Series concert – slated for 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave. – will integrate video, theatrical skits, and immersive audio creating a cohesive narrative.

Go to for more information and reservations ($10 / $15 advance; $15 / $20 day of show | with Berklee ID: $10 discount).

Etiquetteer's 10th Annual Repeal Day Celebration

Please join Etiquetteer Robert B. Dimm from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 for Prohibition-era merriment, including a cocktail-mixing demonstration, Prohibition trivia and an exclusive video tour of the Gibson House Red Study – a space too small to visit during typical Repeal celebrations.

The evening will include an informal panel discussion hosted by Etiquetteer on the evolution of cocktail culture in the 21st century, featuring some beloved friends of Repeal: Kirsten “Miss Kitty” Amann, co-author of Drinking Like Ladies and Jeremy Cooper, co-author with Andrew Klausner of their three-volume series, “Cocktail Hour Meets. . .A Pandemic.”

All proceeds from this event will benefit the preservation of the Gibson House Museum, the only historic house museum in Boston's Back Bay.

Go to for more information and Zoom registration ($60).

Tasha / Mini Trees / S. Raekwon

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Tasha is a musician who writes songs that take loving and longing seriously. Enjoy this concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Red Room at Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St.

Visit for more information and tickets ($18 - Advance | $20 - Door).

Celebrity Series: Julian Lage

Julian Lage, one of the most accomplished and prominent guitarists in modern jazz and improvised music, returns to Boston with his trio for an eclectic concert evoking swinging jazz and blues, early rock, Americana and country twang, and introspective indie and folk rock at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave.

Visit for more information and reservations ($29 - $65).

City-Wide Friends Book Sale

Support the Boston Public Library by buying used books from the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Visit for more information.

Conversation with Anne Sinclair

The French Cultural Center is honored to welcome iconic journalist and bestselling author Anne Sinclair for the American release of her book, In the Shadows of Paris from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4.

It will be first appearance in America for her most recent work. The virtual interview, done in English, will be led by Dr. Guila Clara Kessous, professor, human rights activist who is also UNESCO Artist for Peace. During this interview they will discuss Sinclair’s last book, which is based on her family history as well as her writing process.

Visit for more information, including a free raffle, and Zoom registration (Member: $8 | Non-member: $12).

Author Event: ‘The Impossible Road Trip’

Join author Eric Dregni from 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. for a reading and discussion of his new book The Impossible Road Trip. It's time to plan the road trip you have always dreamed of taking.

Following the great tradition of the mid-century golden age of car travel, join the new wave of road warriors with a targeted itinerary chosen from the 150 roadside attractions explored in this colorful guide. From famous to quirky and covering all 50 states, author Eric Dregni gives you an unprecedented look at the breadth of roadside attractions in the US. Each site depicted is accompanied by a lively and insightful history and color imagery.

From autumnal New England to the gothic South, from the homey Midwest to the great expanses of the Desert Southwest, the dizzying heights of the Rocky Mountains and the breathtaking Pacific Coast, The Impossible Road Trip encompasses it all: Neon-shrouded motels; Mimetic architecture; Tourist traps; Roadside sculpture; and much more.

Visit for more information.


The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 for a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program: George Chiasson’s ‘Second’ Midwestern Trip of 2019.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Winter clothing drive

Help neighbors in need keep warm and enjoy the outdoors this winter by participating in the Emerald Necklace’s winter clothing drive through Friday, Dec. 17.

Drop-off new or lightly used cold weather gear for children and adults from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays at the Conservancy’s two main addresses: the Shattuck Visitor Center at 125 The Fenway and the James Michael Curley House at 350 Jamaicaway.

Donations can also be delivered to City Feed and Supply at 672 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain and REI Boston at 401 Park Drive; visit the Conservancy’s website for hours.

All donations will go to ABCD, a nonprofit human services organization that each year provides assistance to more than 100,000 low-income residents in the Greater Boston region.  

Visit for more information.

‘The Last Five Years’                                              

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St. will present “The Last Five Years” on select days and times through Sunday, Dec. 5.

This is an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show's unconventional structure consists of Cathy telling her story backwards while Jamie tells his story chronologically. 

Visit for more information and tickets ($10-$80).

Holiday Small Works 2021                                                 

The Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. will present Holiday Small Works, featuring work from their membership of more than 300 artists through Friday, Dec. 24.

This traditional holiday show offers affordably priced small works in a variety of media including paintings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media. Pieces from Co|So’s Holiday Small Works are perfect additions to growing art collections, as well as thoughtful and unique gifts for the holidays.

Visit for more information.

Third Annual Winter Party

The Third Annual Winter Party, hosted by the Young Friends of the Public Garden, will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 Park St.

Come and be merry – celebrate and support Boston’s iconic downtown greenspaces: the Boston Common, Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. A fun array of raffle prizes will be offered, including Red Sox tickets, a stay at the Newbury Hotel Boston, a Reebok gift card, a Paws & Purrfection gift basket and more.

Tickets include two complimentary drink tickets and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Visit for more information and reservations ($65 -$95).

Critical shortage of blood at MGH Blood Donor Center – please give

The Massachusetts General Hospital Blood Donor Center, 55 Fruit St. (GRJ 120) will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Visit for more information and to schedule an appointment.

Future Readers Book Club/Events

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

Register at to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at

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 for more information and registration to each event.

Monday Mettā                      

Join Rev. Kim at the Arlington Street Church at noon on Mondays for a half hour of loving kindness meditation. She will give brief instructions, and the group will join in sending loving kindness to ourselves and to the world. No meditation experience necessary.

Join with video at or participate by phone by dialing 929-436-2866. For either option, the meeting ID is always 895 886 6876.

The Buddhist book discussions and meditations

Buddha's Belly and Arlington Street Meditation Center (feel free to come to one or both) will meet via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

– Buddha's Belly at 6 p.m.: a book discussion group that explores a variety of books from Buddhist teachings. All are welcome.

– Arlington Street Meditation Center at 7 p.m.: these gatherings include seated meditation, a brief reading from Buddhist teachings, and conversation. Beginners and experienced meditators from all traditions (or none!) are warmly welcome.

Visit for more information and links to attend.

Back Bay Chorale ESL Chorus                              

Do you love music or enjoy singing? Do you want to learn English and sing with new friends? The E.S.L. Singing Group will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on (most) Tuesdays through Dec. 7 on Zoom and/or at the Central Library, 700 Boylston St. in Copley Square.

Associate Conductor Katherine Chan from the Back Bay Chorale will teach basic singing skills and songs in English.

At the end of each class, participants will have the opportunity to practice English conversation skills and develop friendships. No singing experience required.

Go to or for more information and (Zoom) registration.

Kundalini Yoga Class

Experience fun exercises and poses, breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and deep relaxation in this unique class at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Moving energy through your body brings positive change and growth. All are welcome.

There is a $10 charge that goes to the Arlington Street Church.

Email for Zoom access. 

A safe space for people of all colors

If you identify as a person of color, Old South Church invites you to a time of connecting, a moment of breath, a reprieve from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. The group is open to people of all ages.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Virtual Jazz Coffee House                                                             

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be livestreamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host a weekly Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

The event will feature seven rounds of general knowledge trivia with a few wildcards along the way (follow on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the evening's categories) and excellent prizes for the top three teams. 

Visit for more information.

Queer Board Game Night

Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St., will host a board game night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays in November for all queer-identifying folks and allies.

Visit for more information.

Bach Cantata Series at Emmanuel Church                      

Continuing their 50-year-old tradition, the orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present Bach’s astounding human document in the liturgical setting for which it was intended, as well as other sacred works.

The performances can be enjoyed in person at the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St. at 10 a.m. on Sundays through May 15 with a live stream option.

To learn more about the history of Bach cantatas and how Emmanuel Music presents them, visit

LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings                                              

LGBTQ Catholics Unite meetings are held virtually at 1 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month. The meetings provide an opportunity for LGBTQ Catholics and friends to gather and openly discuss relevant topics, scripture, and current events and share faith experiences, thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

Hosted by the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry, they hope that all LGBTQ+ Catholics will know that “God loves you, God created you, God is on your side, Jesus cares about you, and the church is your home.” All, including allies, are welcome.

For more info on how to connect via Zoom, email

Tiffany stained-glass windows

The Tiffany Education Center at the Arlington Street Church, 20 Arlington St. offers self-guided tours with an audio guide as well as docent-guided tours. Experience the resplendent beauty and history of the 16 Tiffany opalescent stained-glass windows – the largest Tiffany window collection of its kind in any one church.

The visitors center will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays (closed Tuesdays). Group tours are also available.

Visit for more information.

Boston Open Market at Copley Square

In partnership with the Friends of Copley Square, New England Open Markets will operate the Boston Open Market - a new weekly arts market held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 27.

Visit for more information.

BPL reading challenge                                                        

The Boston Public Library invites readers throughout the city to participate in “Reading Together.” In the challenge, each month has a distinct theme and participants are asked to read a book tied to the theme.

The library offers recommended book lists for the monthly themes for adults, teens and children at Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit for more information.

BCYF programs and services                                                         

The Boston Center for Youth and Families offers a variety of arts and computer activities,

recreational programs, virtual field trips, workshops and services both remotely and in person for children, youth, individuals and families at 36 facilities, including community centers and pools.

Visit for more information and registration.

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

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 (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

Boston Ballet videos                                     

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at and/or

Support Boston Ballet at

Free meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. No ID or registration required.

Visit or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information is also included.

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

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

Friday Night Supper Program – needs help for and with onsite/to-go meals

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.

FNSP offers seated, family-style dinners at the church at 5 p.m. on Fridays or hot to-go meals for those who prefer or if room reaches its limited capacity due to the pandemic.

The Clothing Closet will also be opened every other Friday.

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.

FNSP is also looking for help to serve the onsite and “to go” meals.

Visit for more information.

Support BostonWarm/common art and common cathedral programs 

The drop-in center, BostonWarm; the art program, common art; and common cathedral, all 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) Purchase supplies from BostonWarm and common art Amazon wish lists.

2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits, granola bars and water.

3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.

Visit for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

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 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday through Saturday serving breakfast and lunch along with essential care packages.

Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.

Visit for more information.

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. All donations are tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Visit for more information and links to donate.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership                                                  

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall – remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at