Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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The bronze statue of author, historian and minister Edward Everett Hale by Bela Pratt was dedicated in the Boston Public Garden in 1913. Hale is best known for his writings, including "The Man Without a Country," published in Atlantic Monthly, in support of the Union during the Civil War. Hale was born on April 3, 1822 and died June 10, 1909. He was the grand-nephew of Nathan Hale, the American spy who was caught by the British and executed during the Revolutionary War.

Using Microsoft Word to Write Your Family History

Compiling research into a published work can add years to a family history project. Microsoft® Word can help.

In this online seminar from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s authors, genealogists and publishing experts will demonstrate how people can maximize Word’s existing functions to streamline the writing process, saving time and resulting in a professional and easy-to-reference finished product.

Visit www.americanancestors.org/events/using-microsoft-word-write-your-family-history for more information and registration ($85).

ARC Blood Drive at Old South Church

Donate blood to help end the critical shortage status with the Red Cross from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time or phone 1-800­-RED CROSS (1-800­-733-2767) to reserve a space.

‘Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age’

Historian Debby Applegate will present an illustrated presentation and discussion of the latest work from Madam: The Biography of Polly, Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, moderated by historian John Matteson.

It's the story of a notorious madam who played hostess to gangsters, politicians, writers, sports stars and Cafe Society swells. As much as any single figure at that time, Pearl "Polly" Adler helped make the twenties roar.

Presented by AA/NEGHS in partnership with GBH Forum Network, register at

https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/5016384806300/WN_rZywLsi2QGCFgwarJKgUOA.

Ultimate Bling: Britain’s Royal Collection

Formed through centuries by British kings and queens, the Royal Collection is one of the world’s largest and most important collections of art. In this illustration-drenched lecture, NEHGS Curator of Special Collections Curt DiCamillo will explore the jaw-dropping art, storied history and exquisite palaces associated with the collection in a live broadcast from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, hosted by D. Brenton Simons

A recording will be available to registrants following the broadcast.

Visit https://my.americanancestors.org/1775/1857 for more information and Zoom registration ($35).

Bonsai Bar

Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. will host a two-hour bonsai class at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 that teaches you about the art of bonsai and lets you create your very own bonsai tree.

Every attendee will be able to select their own 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 www.tridentbookscafe.com for more information and reservations ($50).

‘Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front’

Charles Gallagher will discuss his new book, Nazis of Copley Square, which provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right and tells a grim tale of faith perverted to violent ends, and a warning for those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.

Gallagher, who used the Jewish Heritage Center's archives in his research, chronicles the evolution of the antisemitic, anticommunist Christian Front in the late 1930s; the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it; and the mainstream political and religious leaders who shielded the front’s activities from scrutiny. Gallagher also examines the forces that enabled it to take root in Boston.

Go to https://americanancestors.org/events for more information and registration for this presentation by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20.

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, Jan. 24 via Zoom. All levels of French and barre are welcome.

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

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group

Geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s, the Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Central Library in Copley Square will meet online from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25 to discuss The Library Book by Susan Orlean.

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

Extremely-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 www.massgeneral.org/blood-donor/contact for more information and to schedule an appointment.

‘Mr. Parent’

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St. will present the world-premiere of Mr. Parent on select days and times through Sunday, Feb. 6.

Based on the real-life adventures of Lyric-favorite Maurice Parent, this humorous world-premiere tells the story of an actor who turns to teaching in the Boston Public Schools for a steady paycheck, and learns what it means to show up for kids – and ourselves.

Visit www.lyricstage.com/show-item/mr-parent for more information and tickets (prices vary).

Co|So New Members Show 2022

The Copley Society of Art (Co|So) is proud to present their annual New Members Show featuring the 29 new members accepted into the gallery in 2020 and 2021. The new artist members represent a great variety of artistic genres and media, including; pastel, photography, oil and watercolor.

The show will be on view through Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. and virtually on the Co|So website: www.copleysociety.org.

The Winter Walk

The Winter Walk is an initiative that believes ending homelessness is within our reach. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds towards that goal, and to support organizations in Greater Boston that are working on prevention, support, and care for our homeless community. 100% of the funds that you raise will be distributed to those select non-profits,

The 6th annual Winter Walk will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13.

This year they will have their live event, along with a hybrid interactive program, that allows for meaningful participation by all.

This family-friendly 2-mile walk through the streets of Boston during the coldest month of the year will begin and end on Copley Plaza. Participants, housed and unhoused, will walk together and then share a meal while hearing real stories of Boston’s homeless population. 

For those who prefer, you can participate in your own walks during the week before the live event and join them for a short virtual presentation on Feb. 13.

Visit www.winterwalkboston.org for more information and registration.

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 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.

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 https://zoom.us/j/8958866876 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 www.ascboston.org for more information and links to attend.

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 office@ascboston.org 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 www.oldsouth.org for more information and Zoom registration.

Tween Time

Tweens, ages 8-12, are invited to join librarians for games and activities from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays in January. There will be something different every week and it’s a great way to hang out with kids your age over Zoom.

Visit bpl.org/events 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 www.oldsouth.org/jazz.

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host a 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 www.tridentbookscafe.com 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 emmanuelmusic.org.

LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings                                              

LGBTQ Catholics Unite meetings will be 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 stceciliarainbowministry@gmail.com.

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 www.asctiffany.org/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 www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families 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 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 (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 Ballet videos                                     

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.

School Meals and Summer Eats programs, among others.

Food access and resources information                             

The Mayor's Office of Food Access works to improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy food that reflects the diversity of the residents of Boston.

– Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access for a list of programs and initiatives, including food pantries, soup kitchens, farmers markets, school meal and summer eats sites, among others.

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

– Visit www.projectbread.org/get-help or 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 www.Fridaynightsupper.org 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 www.commoncathedral.org 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 www.womenslunchplace.org 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 esplanade.org 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 friendsofthepublicgarden.org.