Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
This is a view of the Copley Square area as seen from the air in 1930.

Monthly Family Book Club

Booklovers entering Grades K through 3 and their families can discover new chapter books, chat and tackle book-inspired games and crafts from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Visit for more information and Zoom 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 and their social media platforms through Sunday, Feb. 14.

Boston by Map

Join the Leventhal Map and Education Center for a virtual session on historical geography from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Learn about the Map Center's collections, tools and more. The facilitators will answer questions and assist participants in their own historical geography projects. Bring lunch, map questions and enthusiasm.

This session will be streamed on LMEC's Facebook and YouTube channels.

Go to for more information and registration.

‘Explosion of Beauty’

For centuries, the country house held a unique position in English life. Before World War I, the families in these power houses ruled Britain. Not only were their houses the center of productive agricultural estates, their interiors were the repositories of collections of art.

Curator of Special Collections and architectural historian Curt DiCamillo, FRSA will guide people through these stately homes, their interiors and their world-class art collections in a three-session online course slated from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

“Explosion of Beauty: Art, Architecture & Collections of British Country Houses, Part II” will span nearly two and a half centuries worth of British decorative arts and style, discussing Palladian, Rococo, Chinoiserie, Neoclassical, Medieval Revival, Chinese and Indian, and more as follows:

- Feb. 16: Neoclassical (1760–90)

- Feb. 23: Medieval Revival (1780–1830); Chinese & Indian (1800–30); Other Revivals (1850s–1980s)

This course includes three recorded classes, access to the slides and a bibliography made available to participants until the end of May.

Visit for more information and registration ($85).

Boston women on drugs

In the mid-20th century, Boston emerged as a laboratory for “the modern alcoholism movement,” a campaign to replace penal responses to chronic drunkenness with medico-moral treatment focused on returning white men to their appropriate breadwinner roles. In the late 1970s, radical feminist and women of color community health activists in Boston and Cambridge critiqued this system.

This paper examines their attempts to create a more equitable, responsive and genuinely feminist approach to substance abuse, and assesses their strengths and shortcomings.

The History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, presented by Trysh Travis, University of Florida and Elizabeth Lunbeck, Harvard University.

Visit for more information and registration.

Beyond the 54th

Many people know the story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War, but have you ever wondered what happened after 1865?

Join National Park Service ranger Jocelyn from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 as she delves into the stories of some of the men who served and learn how many continued to fight for equality for all.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Emmanuel Music: Lindsey Chapel Series

Streamed live at noon on Thursdays from Feb. 18 through March 25 from Lindsey Chapel at Emmanuel Church, this 2021 series offers Bach’s six English Suites on harpsichord with soloists and friends of the Emmanuel Music ensemble.

The series can be viewed on Emmanuel Music’s YouTube channel: The programs will remain on YouTube for a limited time.

Visit for more information, including the weekly program.

Family Book Group: ‘The Line Tender’

The librarian-moderated Family Book Group will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 to discuss the February Community Read – The Line Tender by Kate Allen.

Go to for more information and Zoom registration.

Confronting racial injustice

From the 17th century to the 21st, slavery has been central to creating wealth and generating race-based inequality in Massachusetts. Family fortunes, institutional endowments and public budgets in the Commonwealth have all benefitted from the spoils of slavery.

This panel discussion between academic and public historians explores Massachusetts’s connections to slavery and the slave trade, the wealth – and the poverty – slavery created and bequeathed, and how the legacies of slavery are reflected in injustices that haunt Massachusetts to this day will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Visit for more information and registration.

‘Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History’

The American Inspiration author series welcomes author Richard Thompson Ford and guest moderator Petra Slinkard, curator of fashion and textiles at Peabody Essex Museum, for a lively discussion about Ford’s new book Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History - an insightful and entertaining history of the laws of fashion from the middle ages to the present day.

Dress codes are as old as clothing itself. For centuries, clothing has been a wearable status symbol and changes in fashion have marked historic social and political movements.

This walk down history’s red carpet from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 will uncover and examine the canons, mores and customs of clothing.

Go to for more information and registration.

‘A Woman Painter in the Age of Revolution’ art talk

The French Cultural Center will host an art talk from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Using her artworks, Maria D’Amario will trace Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun's extraordinary journey, beginning with her early training until her repatriation to Paris and subsequent death in 1842. Thanks to recent reassessments of her work, Le Brun is finding her place alongside other great 18th-century artists such as Fragonard, Boucher and Chardin.

This presentation in English will be followed by a live Q&A.

Visit for more information and registration (Member: $7 | Non-member: $10).

‘Child Bride’ author talk

Jennifer Smith Turner will read portions of her new book, Child Bride, and discuss the characters and plans for upcoming projects including a possible sequel and new poetry from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Child Bride takes place in the segregated South of the mid-1900s where 14-year-old Nell bears witness to a world that embraces the oppression of women. Portions of the book take place in Boston and it has strong female characters.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Worldbuilding with the Leventhal Map Center

Children in grades 3-6 are invited to join the Children’s Library and the Leventhal Map & Education Center from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Feb. 19 to learn how maps can help shape imaginary worlds.

Explore examples from a few fantasy and science fiction books before creating your own worldbuilding map.

Be ready to learn some map lingo and exercise your creative muscles.

Visit for more information and registration.

Barre en français

Exercise your body and vocabulary at the French Cultural Center.

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in a barre class that focuses on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 and from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 22 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome.

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

‘Solitaire Suite’

Hub Theatre Company of Boston will present Solitaire Suite – where the Twilight Zone meets Zoom – from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Feb. 20 through Feb. 27 and from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Visit for more information and registration (All tickets are Pay-What-You-Can – Suggested is $20). You can also watch on Facebook Live.

2021 Signature Members Show

New England Watercolor Society 2021 Annual Signature Members Show will be on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St. through Saturday, Feb. 27.

Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.

Visit for more information.

BPL Reading Challenge

As the pandemic drags on and Boston residents remain cooped up in their homes, 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.

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group

The Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Central Library in Copley Square is geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s and meets on line from 6 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The group covers a wide variety of genres including historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, among others.

The Feb. 23 read will be the first two novellas in The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells: All Systems Red and Artificial Condition.

Visit for more information, including the video chat link.

Book Group for Adults on the Spectrum: ‘Talking to Strangers’

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, co-hosted by the Boston Public Library and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).

For Feb. 23, the group will discuss Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell.

Visit for more information and the link to Zoom.

The Bach Institute 2021 ‘Celebrating the Past; Engaging the Future’

The Bach Institute 2021 Celebrating the Past; Engaging the Future includes informative lectures, alumni interviews, cantata presentations and the alumni showcase concert.

View all of The Bach Institute events at The Bach Institute playlist on the Emmanuel Music YouTube channel anytime at

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 for more information and access to the plays.

‘Hatched: Breaking through the Silence’

The Esplanade Association will present Hatched: Breaking through the Silence, a multi-sensory winter illumination experience at the Hatch Shell in celebration of their 20th Anniversary.

The 15-minute visual and sound performance shaped specifically for the 80-year-old amphitheater 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 to learn more.

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 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, including the latest performance (Jan. 22) featuring Jay Psaros, Alice Howe and The Restless Age.

Visit for more information.

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.

Gay Men's Coffee Connections

Gay Men's Coffee Connections will meet at 5 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month.

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

Visit for more information, including the week’s discussion prompt and the Zoom link.

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 or for more information and Zoom registration.

New Parent Group

The Boston Public Library’s New Parent 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 for more information, including a weekly speaker/topic and Zoom 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 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 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.

Tween Time

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. It’s a great way to hang out with kids your age.

Visit 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

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 and/or

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

Beyond the Page: GBH Book Club

The GBH Beyond the Page Book Club has selected All About the Story: News, Power, Politics and The Washington Post for the February selection.

The group will virtually meet from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 to chat with author Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post from 1991 to 2008 where you will be able to ask him all about his life and career.

At a time when the role of journalism is especially critical, the author writes about his nearly 50 years at the newspaper and the importance of getting at the truth.

Join GBH Facebook group for reading goals to help keep you on track and for additional discussion.

Visit for other information 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.

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 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:


The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) will meet at 7:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month for a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. Everyone is welcome to attend this online gathering.

March 5: Car Barns of Boston Elevated in Cambridge, Arlington, and Watertown

Leo Sullivan returns to present more Boston Street Railway Shops and Car Barns through the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. This program will include pictures, plans and narrative.

Check out the BSRA online store for a great selection of 2021 traction, transit and railroad calendars; books and magazines; DVDs; home décor and accessories; vintage items and more.

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

Visit 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 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.

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

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 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 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 along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at and/or

Support Boston Ballet at

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 at 6 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 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 for more information.

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

Friday Night Supper Program emergency appeal

The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.

Your donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards. Help fill the gap with their Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.

Visit to make a donation.

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 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

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 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 for more information.