Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes
Winter Walk BOSTON to End Homelessness
For the fifth year, a consortium of agencies, including Pine Street Inn, Women’s Lunch Place, St. Francis House, Boston Health Care for the Homeless and Common Cathedral, are sponsoring a two-mile awareness and fundraising walk through the streets of Boston to help end homelessness in Boston.
Participants will to take their own walk (independently or as a family or small team) between Friday, Jan. 29 and Sunday Feb. 7 and then gather at 3 p.m. on Feb. 7 for a special online presentation with stories shared from some of Greater Boston’s homeless community.
Visit www.winterwalkboston.org for more information, walk registration and other ways to volunteer.
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).
‘Driving While Black’
Gretchen Sorin, SUNY Oneonta, will be in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.
Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights demonstrates that the car – the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility – has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing Black families to evade the dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road.
Melding new archival research with her family’s story, Sorin recovers a lost history, demonstrating how, when combined with black travel guides – including the famous Green Book – the automobile encouraged a new way of resisting oppression.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom 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 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.
Women of the Underground
Non-conformist resistance to the Stuart Restoration is often told as the history of ministers, regicides and other men who actively preserved their loyalty to political and religious ideals of the 1640s and 1650s. However, many of the ongoing activities necessary to preserve the movement were carried out by women.
This paper explores women’s roles in the transatlantic kinship, religious and veterans’ networks which enabled nonconformists to sustain themselves in the face of defeat and repression.
The Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation with Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire and Adrian Weimer, Providence College from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration.
Maika & Maritza author talk: ‘One of the Good Ones’
Maika and Maritza Moulite will talk about their new book and will then answer audience questions about writing as a team, where they find inspiration for their stories and more from 2 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
One of the Good Ones follows a teenager named Happi after her sister, Kezi, is mysteriously killed at a social justice rally. While Happi tries to grieve, she struggles as she watches her sister become an idealized symbol of the fight against police brutality. Happi wonders why her sister has to be perfect for her memory to be worth uplifting? And as Happi embarks on a journey to grieve Kezi in her own way, she soon discovers that her sister's story isn't as simple as she thought...
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.
Meet-the-Scientists career panel
In partnership with Youth Outreach at the Boston Public Library, panelists from the Department of Molecular Metabolism at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will share about their journeys to a career in science and provide advice to those interested in pursuing science careers from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.
Higher Laws: ‘Black and White Transcendentalists and the Fight Against Slavery’
In the cauldron of the antislavery movement, antislavery activists and Transcendentalist intellectuals, developed a "Higher Law" ethos, a unique set of romantic political sensibilities –marked by moral enthusiasms, democratic idealism and a vision of the self that could judge political questions from "higher" standards of morality and reason.
The Transcendentalism that emerges here was intended to fight slavery, but it would influence later labor, feminist, civil rights and environmentalist activism.
African American thinkers and activists have long engaged with American Transcendentalist ideas about "double consciousness," nonconformity, and civil disobedience. When thinkers like Martin Luther King, Jr., or W. E. B. Du Bois invoked Transcendentalist ideas, they were putting to use an intellectual movement that Black radicals had participated in since the 1830s.
Visit masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration for this author talk with Peter Wirzbicki, Princeton University, slated from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4.
‘The Doctors Blackwell’
A moderated discussion about women in medicine revealing the remarkable lives of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive an M.D. in 1849, and her younger sister Emily, an even more brilliant physician will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4.
Exploring their allies, enemies and enduring partnership, author Janice P. Nimura presents their story of trials and triumph.
From Bristol, Paris and Edinburgh to the rising cities of antebellum America, this richly researched new biography celebrates these two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women.
This event hosted by GBH Forum Network is part of the American Stories, Inspiration Today series sponsored by American Ancestors NEHGS, the Boston Public Library.
Live from Paris with bestselling author Lindsey Tramuta
Lovers of Paris: Join the French Cultural Center from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 for an interview with Lindsey Tramuta, based in France since 2006. Tramuta is a culture and travel journalist, the author of a bestselling book (or two!), a podcaster and an expert on the expat experience.
Tramuta will talk about her latest book, The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris; some Parisiennes who are currently making The City of Light shine with their talent; and her favorite parts of Paris, anecdotes of being an American woman in Paris, and how her podcast, The New Paris gives her many opportunities to discover new places and meet new people.
This author talk will be followed by a live Q&A, so come ready with your questions. Online event will be in English.
Visit frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and registration (Member $7 | Non-member $10).
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.
LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings
LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly 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.
LGBTQ Catholics need a forum in which to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Safe Space for all Colors
If you identify as a person of color, The Old South Church invites you to a time of connecting, a moment of breath and a reprieve from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. The group is open to people of all ages.
For more information contact email@example.com.
Lyric Stage To-Go ‘The Walking Plays’
The Walking Plays is a new free audio play 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 - On Paying Attention by David Valdes and Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus - 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.
Teen Book Discussion Group: ‘Reverie’
Passionate about teen reads, but having a hard time getting a virtual book group going...?
Join a group of teen librarians for a monthly book discussion with teen patrons of the Boston Public Library as part of the year-long #ReadingTogether challenge.
The group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 to discuss the fantasy novel Reverie by Ryan La Sala.
Whether or not they have read the chosen book, teens are encouraged to join the conversation and make book recommendations.
Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the book synopsis and how to join on Twitch.
Family Book Group: ‘The Line Tender’
Let's read together! Join friends, family, caregivers and fellow Boston Public Library Yearlong Reading Challenge participants from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 to discuss the February Community Read for families – The Line Tender by Kate Allen.
The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.
Go to bpl.org/events for more information, including a book synopsis, and registration.
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."
Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen
The Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen BBMSK (“Bumsk”) is a group of young adults who minister to the homeless on the streets of Back Bay. They take sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries to distribute, and take time to listen to the stories of the men and women they encounter.
The group meets Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. on the front steps of the St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, 1105 Boylston St.
They are always looking for donations (money/gift cards, toiletries, socks, and supplies) and volunteers to help prepare and package the food.
Contact Eli at 703-638-2019 or visit www.omvusa.org/about/groups for more information.
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.
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.
‘Hatched: Breaking through the Silence’
The Esplanade Association will present Hatched: Breaking through the Silence at the Hatch Shell in celebration of their 20th anniversary.
The 15-minute visual and sound performance will begin at 5 p.m. and re-start every 20 minutes until 9 p.m. through Sunday, Feb. 21.
Hatched is free and open to the public. Masks and physical distancing mandated.
Visit https://esplanade.org/hatched to learn more about Hatched: Breaking through the Silence.
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.
ESL Singing Group
Do you love music or enjoy singing? Do you want to learn English and sing with new friends? The E.S.L. Singing Group meets from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. on (most) Tuesdays through May 4.
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 https://bbcboston.org/bridges/esl or bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.
New Parent Group (on Zoom)
Looking for a way to meet other parents with infants? Need support from experts while navigating new challenges? Have questions about childhood development, parenting and early literacy?
Join 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.
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@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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.