Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
The Prudential Tower is the second tallest building in Boston.

Better Future: Joy + Wellness

People have been through a lot this year. That’s why Company One Theatre (C1) and The Theater Offensive will dedicate their energy toward making space for health, relaxation and artistically-fueled joy, with virtual, participatory workshops as varied as their community: from Drag Story Hour to skin care consultations, from trivia nights to social justice embroidery circles, and Yoga, too.

All Better Future: Joy + Wellness events will take place at various times through Sunday, Feb. 28 and are pay-what-you-want.

Visit companyone.org/joyandwellness for more information, including a lineup of events and registration.

BB@YOURHOME 2020-2021 Season Series

Enjoy a night at the ballet with BB@YOURHOME, a new virtual series featuring fresh creations, signature works and classical ballet gems captured live in-studio and streamed directly.

Their reimagined season showcases the creativity and innovation that defines Boston Ballet, pushes the boundaries of their artform and continues to provide world-class dance despite the current constraints.

Jan. 21-Jan 31: Look Back, Focus Forward

Take a virtual voyage of Boston Ballet’s history and artistic achievements, including outstanding international tours, the special relationship with Jiří Kylián’s repertoire, the intimate ballets from Leonid Yakobson, and many more.

Feb. 25-Mar. 7: Celebrating Jorma Elo

Celebrate the boldness and choreographic evolution of Jorma Elo’s work through his 15 years as Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer. Watch as a new cast of dancers takes on his mind-blowing hit Plan to B and be the first to experience his brand-new work for two dancers.

March 25-April 4: The Art of Classical Ballet

Open a treasure chest of pas de deux from classical ballet including a rarely-performed gems. Experience a curated look at the foundations of the artform and the leaps ballet has made since then.

April 15-April 25: Process & Progress

Enjoy innovative, never-before-seen dance by new, international choreographic voices Nanine Linning and Ken Ossola, plus a preview of ChoreograpHER.

Bring the Ballet home. With each subscription ($180/series), you support their dancers, fuel new art-making, and invest in Boston Ballet's future.

Go to bostonballet.org/Home/Tickets-Performances/Performances/BB-at-your-home for more information and tickets.

Barre en français

Exercise your body and your vocabulary. Join the French Cultural Center for a barre class that will help people to focus on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from the comfort of home.

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in their practice from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 25 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome.

Visit frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and reservations (Member - $7; Non-member - $10).

Portraits by John Singleton Copley

John Singleton Copley was born in Boston in 1738 into a poor family. His prodigious talent appears to have come naturally and without formal training as he rose from poverty to Boston’s highest social circles through his self-taught talent, industrious work ethic and ambition. He is roundly recognized as the finest portrait painter of colonial America.

Mary C. Woodward will explore the beginning of Copley's career, the subjects he painted and the reasons for his success in a virtual presentation from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 25.

Learn how he became the portraitist of rebels and royalists alike, following his life and work against the backdrop of the political changes that were playing out in Boston. Then follow him across the Atlantic as he began a new life during the start of revolution.

Visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/6800/copley for more information and registration (Suggested Contribution 0 to $25).

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.

Free Spring sessions will be held from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. on most Tuesdays from Jan. 26 through May 4 on Zoom.

Associate Conductor Katherine Chan from the Back Bay Chorale, in partnership with the Boston Public Library, will teach 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.

Go to bbcboston.org/bridges/esl for more information and registration.

Facebook Live: Story and a Snack

Follow along with the Boston Public Library librarians as they share stories and show  how to cook up a delicious snack from 3:30 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at www.facebook.com/BPLchildren.

Excavating Egyptology: The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project

The Nile travel diaries of Mrs. Emma B. Andrews are an important, yet underutilized resource for the so-called “Golden Age” of Egyptian archaeology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This paper will discuss the evolution of the Emma B. Andrews Diary Project (est. 2011), and the project’s processes for transcription, encoding, analysis and presentation in a digital format.

The Digital History Projects Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Visit masshist.org/calendar for more information and Zoom 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).

For Jan. 26 the group will discuss Bossypants by Tina Fey.

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. The group covers a wide variety of genres including historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, among others.

The Jan. 26 read will be The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.

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

Taste of Israel 2021

Israeli food, a melting pot of diverse cuisines – Moroccan, Yemenite, French, Bukharan, Russian, Iraqi, Ethiopian, Druze and many others – contributes to the diverse Israeli culinary landscape. To celebrate this diversity of delicious cuisine, JArts (Jewish Arts Collaborative) established Taste of Israel in 2019.

JArts is inviting all Greater Boston-area food enthusiasts to support local restaurants while savoring the many flavors of Israeli food.

Taste of Israel 2021 runs from Tuesday, Jan. 26 through Tuesday, Feb. 2. Each participating restaurant will feature specials throughout the week. Prices, hours, and ordering information are set by the restaurant.

Visit jartsboston.org/taste-of-israel for more information, including a list of participating restaurants.

Gentle movement and meditation

Laura Johnson from the Hands to Heart Center will present an online hour of gentle movement and calming breathwork from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Learn practices to ground and center yourself in daily life and cultivate an attitude of mindfulness. No prior experience necessary. A yoga blanket or two bath towels might be helpful, but they are not required.

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

The Federal Census: Moving beyond the population schedule

When most family historians think about the census, they think of the population schedule – the enumeration of individuals living within a household. But there is so much more to the Federal Census that many researchers overlook.

Census expert Lindsay Fulton will discuss how mortality, agriculture, manufacturing, business and other social statistics schedules can be used in your genealogical research from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28.

She’ll review what data was collected for what years, how to access these non-population schedules and how to leverage this information in your own family history.

Go to www.americanancestors.org for information and Zoom registration.

The Province of Affliction: Illness and the Making of Early New England

The Massachusetts Historical Society will host Ben Mutschler, Oregon State University, in conversation with Liz Covart, Omohundro, Institute of Early American History and Culture from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28.

In The Province of Affliction, Ben Mutschler integrates the history of disease into the narrative of early American social and political development, illuminating the fragility of autonomy, individualism and advancement.

Each sickness in early New England created its own web of interdependent social relations that could both enable survival and set off a long bureaucratic struggle to determine responsibility for the misfortune. From families and households to townships, colonies, and states, illness both defined and strained the institutions of the day, bringing people together in the face of calamity, yet also driving them apart when the cost of persevering grew overwhelming. In the process, domestic turmoil circulated through the social and political world to permeate the very bedrock of early American civic life.

Visit masshist.org/calendar for more information and Zoom registration.

Winter Family History Benefit

American Ancestors/NEHGS will present a Winter Family History Benefit honoring renowned expert in African American studies, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, History in the Face of Slavery: A Family Portrait in dialogue with Finding Your Roots host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28.

Illustrated presentation will include a Q&A with the audience. 

Go to www.americanancestors.org for information and Zoom registration (One ticket required per household, all but $65 is tax-deductible).

Elijah Cummings' Memoire: ‘We're Better Than This’ author talk

Join an online conversation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 with political expert Dr. Maya Rockeymoore and writer James Dale, co-authors of We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy, primarily authored by the late Elijah Cummings, former U.S. Representative from Maryland's 7th District.

Cummings, Dale and Rockeymoore tell the story of modern-day democracy and the threats that we all must face together, as well as reflect on the life and career of one of the country’s most inspirational politicians.

Boston Public Library President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of the BPL's Repairing America Series and presented in partnership with the GBH Forum Network.

Visit the following link to access the registration page:

wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/9016099535591/WN_r3TFJybGTIKHjsQUNJwqNA.

Community Read Book Group

Join friends, family and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 to discuss the January community read for adults – An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.

People do not need to be participating in the Reading Together challenge in order to take part in this book group, but are urged to join. Learn about the different monthly challenges, get recommendations for books to read and find other ways to connect with the reading community online.

Go to bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Baking, love and macarons

This year, add a French twist to Valentine’s Day celebrations: give amour and macarons.

Pastry lovers are invited to join the French Cultural Center from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 to learn how to make French macarons with French baker Sandrine Wallace, of French Pastry. Wallace will share all her savoir-faire to bake the finest chocolate and raspberry macarons from scratch. Online event in English.

Visit frenchculturalcenter.org/events/baking-love-and-macarons for more information and Zoom registration (Members - $10 | Non-members - $15).

‘The Walking Plays’

Take the Lyric Stage To-Go with The Walking Plays, their new free audio play series.

The Walking Plays is a series of six short plays by Boston-based playwrights, which unfold on a continuous route around the Back Bay, Downtown, and Theatre District neighborhoods.

The Walking Plays explore the private moments that we experience in public. Rediscover Boston through new eyes as you walk alongside intricate characters or experience these intimate stories in the comfort of your home.

The first two plays are now available with four more being released in the spring.

Visit www.lyricstage.com/to-go/walking-plays for more information and access to the plays.

Ghost Light Series

All previously recorded episodes of the Ghost Light Series, a live half-hour music program filmed to an empty Wang Theatre illuminated only by the Ghost Light, are available to enjoy as well, including the latest performance (Jan. 22) featuring Jay Psaros, Alice Howe and The Restless Age.

Visit bochcenter.org for more information.

Give the gift of membership through January

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/2020/11/06/give-the-gift-of-membership-now-through-january.

Virtual: CO|So’s New Members Show 2021

The Copley Society of Art features the 13 new members accepted into the gallery in 2020 showcasing a great diversity of artists’ backgrounds and media, including pastel, photography, oil and watercolor. The New Members Show will be on view through the gallery website at www.copleysociety.org through Sunday, Feb. 14.

Artworks will also be featured through Co|So's social media platforms, Instagram and Twitter: @cosogallery and Facebook: "Copley Society of Art."

‘Hatched: Breaking through the Silence’

The Esplanade Association will present “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence,” a four-week illumination and sound experience to provide a family-friendly and physically-distant celebration at the famed Hatch Memorial Shell in celebration of their 20th anniversary. “Hatched” will cut through the darkness of the winter months, offering a public space for joy and optimism in the New Year.

The work is an original 15-minute visual and sound performance led by Boston-based creative Maria Finkelmeier of MF Dynamics and is shaped specifically for the 80-year-old amphitheater itself.

Hatched is free and open to the public, taking place nightly through Sunday, Feb. 21. Viewers will be able to tune in to the original synchronized soundtrack on their personal devices while watching the illuminations. The work, made possible by collaborations with LuminArtz and projector sponsor Epson, will begin at 5 p.m. and re-start every 20 minutes until 9 p.m., offering more than 300 opportunities to enjoy the work in the open-air landscape of the historic Hatch Shell Oval Lawn. Masks and physical distancing mandated.

Visit https://esplanade.org/hatched to learn more about Hatched: Breaking through the Silence.

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.

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 the Boston Public Library’s New Parent group on Zoom. The group will meet from 1 to 2 p.m. on (most) Tuesdays for an informal – and informative – program for families with infants, birth to 12 months.

Each week a guest speaker will talk about a variety of topics, including diapering, napping, feeding, early communication and general wellness for parents and infants. There will also be time before the guest speaker arrives so people can connect with other new parents and get early literacy recommendations from the librarians.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including a weekly speaker/topic and registration.

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.

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

7 p.m. Arlington Street Meditation Center: 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.

Jackbox party gaming for teens on Twitch

A small team of the friendly Boston Public Library teen librarians will host wacky, irreverent

online party games from the Jackbox suite - all of which are designed to be played by large audiences from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays using Twitch stream.

Kids in 6th through 12th grade are invited to join the fun, joke around in chat and even recommend the next game.

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

A safe space for people of all colors

If you identify as a person of color, Old South Church (645 Boylston St.) 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 (on Zoom)

Tweens, ages 8-12, are invited to join librarians for games and activities from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Thursdays over Zoom. There will be something different every week and it’s a great way to hang out with kids your age.

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 live streamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at livestream.com/oldsouth.

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.

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.

BB Mom’s Group

The Mom’s Group is being revived for Moms in the Back Bay to meet and connect. Their goal is to offer support and be a resource for local Moms. When possible, outdoor events will be planned.

For more information on joining, send an email to: info@nabbonline.org.

BSRA

The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (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 this online gathering. This month, the group will meet on the second Saturday due to the holiday.

Feb. 6 – Boston Transit: A 20th Century Postcard History

Penny picture postcards were immensely popular in the early 1900s, and today those postcard views document what our city used to look like. Charlie Bahne will present a history of Boston transit, as seen from the medium of color postcards over the past hundred years with images taken from his own collection, the internet, and other sources.

The BSRA online store is open. A great selection of 2021 traction, transit and railroad calendars along with plenty of books and magazines, DVDs, home and accessories, vintage items and more are available for browsing and ordering.

Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.

Visit www.thebsra.org for more information and Zoom registration.

Future Readers Book Club and events

The Boston Public Library will host 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.

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. 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. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens is also included.

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.

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.

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 esplanade.org for more information and links to donate.

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.