Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
This family is working hard to add a snowperson to the Common.

A Virtual Valentine

Join King’s Chapel for A Virtual Valentine, a video cavalcade of choir members’ personal favorites. Premieres on YouTube at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.

After the program, hop over to Zoom for a Concert Reception/Mardi Gras celebration from 6 to 7 p.m.

Visit www.kings-chapel.org/calendar for more information and Zoom registration.

Music Salon: Leona Cheung And Cara Bender

This music salon features the soprano and piano duo of Cara Bender and Leona Cheung, who were both graduates of the New England Conservatory in vocal performance and collaborative piano respectively.

The performance will be premiered via YouTube at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 16, followed by a post-concert conversation on Zoom at 6:15 p.m.

This virtual program is presented by Beacon Hill Village’s Music Salon series. Free and open to the public.

Visit beaconhillvillage.org for more information and registration or phone Beacon Hill Village at 617-723-9713.

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to discuss House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/275851383 for more information and registration.

This event is part of the Museum of Science, Boston SubSpace Adult Programs.

Book Talk: ‘A Worse Place Than Hell’

John Matteson will talk about his new book, A Worse Place Than Hell: How the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg Changed a Nation, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 - hosted by the Boston Athenæum.

A Worse Place Than Hell brings together the prodigious forces of war with the intimacy of individual lives. Matteson interweaves the historic and the personal in a work as beautiful as it is powerful.

Visit bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders - Free | Visitors - $5).

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working-class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post-Reconstruction America.

For more than 30 years, Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published the Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W.E.B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Synthesizing years of archival research, historian Kerri Greenidge renders the drama of turn-of-the-century America and reclaims Trotter as a seminal figure, who’s prophetic, yet ultimately tragic, life offers a link between the vision of Frederick Douglass and black radicalism in the modern era from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

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

‘Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World’ book talk

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it.

Author Simon Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land – and why does it matter?

Learn more at the book talk from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, hosted by the Boston Athenæum.

Visit bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

Community Read Book Group for Adults: ‘His Only Wife’

The Community Read Book Group for Adults will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The librarian will moderate the discussion of His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie.

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

Revolutionary Harbor: The Transatlantic World of Peter Faneuil

In October 2020, the National Parks of Boston, the Museum of African American History, the City of Boston and the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project installed a marker at the end of Long Wharf recognizing Boston’s participation in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Many merchants in colonial Boston owned and trafficked in enslaved people and profited from the goods produced by enslaved labor. Peter Faneuil, the benefactor of the iconic building that bears his name, built a Transatlantic financial empire as one of these elite colonial Boston merchants.

Join the National Park Service as it explores the complicated legacy of Peter Faneuil and the central role of slavery in shaping Boston’s 18th century economy from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, presented by National Park Service and Boston Harbor Now.

Visit eventbrite.com/e/revolutionary-harbor-the-transatlantic-world-of-peter-faneuil-tickets-135563190151 for more information and registration.

Kanopy Club: ‘Daughters of the Dust’ (1991)

Daughters of the Dust: At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina - former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions - struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland - even further from their roots.

Watch the film on Kanopy; then join the Boston Public Library from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 for a discussion.

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

‘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 bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’

Science journalist, broadcaster and author of Superior: The Return of Race Science, Angela Saini will talk about the murky history of race science and the ways in which it’s being resurrected in the 21st century. She will discuss how the far-right is attempting to repackage racism, the history of systemic racism engrained in STEM and how the current COVID-19 pandemic is bringing the concept of racial hierarchy to the forefront of society once again. This program will stream live from the Museum of Science from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Visit mos.org/explore/subspace/return-of-race-science-angela-saini for more information and registration (free; donations welcome).

MOS experience

The Museum of Science has reopened following health and safety guidelines – including face coverings – and advance reservations for admission.

Highlights of your visit can include: the new permanent exhibit, Arctic Adventure: Exploring with Technology; All Aboard! Trains at Science Park (temporary exhibit departing Feb. 28); temporary exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar; a variety of shows in the Planetarium; and Superpower Dogs in the newly refurbished Mugar Omni Theater.

Go to mos.org 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 bpl.org/yearlong. Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit bpl.org for more information.

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.

Simple morning meditation practice

Beacon Hill Friends holds a simple meditation practice that helps reduce stress and ease you into the morning. The meditation is 15 minutes long and begins and ends with a brief introduction to the practice. Orientation for newcomers begins at 8 a.m., and the practice begins at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays.

Join once or join regularly – this meditation is free and open to the public.

Go to bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and the Zoom link.

Art journaling as a spiritual practice

LJ Boswell will lead art journaling workshops from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays through March 14, hosted by the Beacon Hill Friends House.

Each class will begin with an introduction to a simple art lesson you can choose to incorporate into your art journaling time. Then relax into a guided meditation and the meditative flow of creation. From a space of listening, open to Spirit’s guidance as a way of creating what you most need to express or remember in this moment. The group will close with an opportunity for those who are inspired to share from your heart. If no one is moved to share, the group will simply enjoy the gifts of a meditative space.

Visit bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and registration (Investment: $25/workshop or $125/for the full series. Sliding scale rates available).

Online ESL conversation groups

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on most Mondays, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on most Tuesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on most Wednesdays, and from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on most Fridays through Aug. 31. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Online intermediate and advanced ESL classes are also offered at select times.

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

‘Responding to the Call’

The Beacon Hill Friends House will present “Responding to the Call,” a two-month, weekly workshop to do critical work of climate justice, dismantling white supremacy and beginning reparations.

Slated through Tuesday, Feb. 23, the group will meet every other week from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in a whole group Zoom session, with alternating weeks dedicated to on-going small groups.

As the work of systems transformation – both the societal systems we engage with daily and ourselves as systems of change – is not purely academic, this workshop will use somatic and Quaker spiritual practices along with discussions, readings, and videos.

Visit bhfh.org/responding-to-the-call for more information and registration.

LRC: Self-Care Series

Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It means doing things to take care of your mind, body and soul by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so enhances the ability to live fully, vibrantly and effectively. The practice of self-care also reminds people that their needs are valid and a priority.

Join this facilitated living room conversations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays through Feb. 24.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the weekly topics, and Zoom registration.

‘MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness’

The Beacon Hill Friends will host MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos is open to everyone.

Go to bhfh.org/midweek for more information about the facilitators and the practices they offer along with program details and Zoom registration. These closed-captioned programs are free, although donations to support their work are welcome.

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga

Unwind with Gentle Yoga – sponsored by Hands to Heart Center and the Boston Public Library – will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The yoga classes are geared for beginners with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels.

The class will be live-streamed on YouTube/Hand to Heart Center – Yoga for the People.

You can also get the link at bpl.org/online events. The recorded sessions will remain online.

‘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 esplanade.org/hatched to learn more.

Music at Home from King’s Chapel

Music remains an important aspect to the virtual presence of King's Chapel. Here are a few offerings to enjoy:

- “Talk About Music!” – Music Director Heinrich Christensen hosts a weekly conversation on all things musical from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom. Topics announced on their website and social media.

- “Weekly Musical Meditations” – This virtual glimpse of King's Chapel is accompanied by soothing music performed by their talented musicians. Every Monday they will add a new musical meditation on their social media channels with the hashtag #MusicAndMeditationMonday and on their YouTube channel.

- “Music in the Time of Covid: A Series” – In this pandemic world, Music Director Heinrich Christensen with composer and videographer Graham Gordon Ramsay recorded a series of videos of new music after dark. Read the blog post on their website about their reflections on these Introspections

- Music from Virtual Worship Services – On King's Chapel YouTube channel, is a curated playlist of songs from their weekly online worship services.

Go to kings-chapel.org/musicfromhome.html for more information and links to enjoy.

‘The Happiness Project’: Book discussion for a happier life

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun, the author chronicles her adventures during the 12 months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rather than uprooting herself, Rubin focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about the results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts from Epicurus to Thoreau, Oprah to the Dalai Lama – to see what worked for her and what didn’t.

Following the book discussion that took place in January, the participants will meet monthly to discuss their personal resolutions, swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give encouragement, and – perhaps most importantly – hold each other accountable. Being part of a group is a terrific way to build friendships, have fun and figure out ways to make yourself happier.

The group will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays as follows:

- March 3: Personal commandments

- April 7: Inspiration

- May 5: Happy memories

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

Operation ABLE

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St. Fifth Floor) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds.

All services, including distance learning, coaching, and wrap-around services, are being conducted remotely. Class enrollments are open for computer skills training and Health Care and Social Services training, among others.

Visit operationable.net for more information and registration.

Blessing Barn Beacon Hill

The Blessing Barn at 122 Charles St. is a thrift and antique shop, as well as a self-described “sharing center,” that accepts donations of and sells new and gently used clothing, linens, home decor, furniture, kitchen items, toys, records, books and wall art, among myriad other items.

BBBH exists to provide simple, short term housing for patients and their support individuals needing medical care away from home. They are proud to provide a ROOM IN THE CITY.

Join them by giving in the following ways: Offer to be a host home; Pay for a room in the city for one night; Purchase items in their store; Give a monetary donation using their secure form.

Visit theblessingbarn.com for more information.

MOS at Home

Engage with Museum Educators Live at MOS at Home. Schedules change weekly and may include a weekly STEM challenge; virtual planetarium visits; live animal visits; science stories; science-related question and answer panels; and Sub-space events.

Visit www.mos.org and/or eventbrite.com for more information and reservations.

Hill House winter programming – online/onsite

Ready for a warm, safe and fun winter with Hill House, Inc., 127 Mount Vernon St.?

On-going registration for online/onsite winter programming that includes basketball, music, art, STEM and much more continues for all members and nonmembers.

Pod spots will be available for those looking for semi-private classes with their instructors.

Give to Hill House's 2020-2021 Fundraising Appeal to help keep programs running.

Visit www.hillhouseboston.org for more information and sign ups.

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 younger. 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.

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 Athenæum

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond.

The Athenæum is open to members for book pick-up and drop-off in the lobby, and by appointment to use the reading rooms. Up to five Day Passes are now available for non-members each day.

Phone 617-720-7604 with questions and to reserve time in the building.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/covid-19-response for more information.

‘Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill’ books for sale

Beacon Hill Garden Club’s Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places is a combination wish book and reference book all in one. Throughout the book, people will discover the many solutions Beacon Hill’s gardeners have used to make their gardens appealing.

The 85th anniversary edition is a full-color, hard-bound book with more than 110 professional photographs by Peter Vanderwarker and Thomas Lingner. It is filled with pages offering practical solutions to a variety of garden conundrums: walls, paving, levels, gates and doors, ornaments, furniture, light and color.

In addition, there is an addendum listing common and Latin names of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and rhizomes, wild plants and annuals that succeed in our gardens.

The book can be purchased at Blackstone’s at 46 Charles St. and Gary Drug at 59 Charles St.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org/our-book for more information.

Wednesday Night Supper Club – ‘Takeout Meal in a Sack’

The Wednesday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center Auditorium, 5 Park St. Place. At this time, they have shifted to a “takeout meal in a sack.”

The Paulist Center volunteers have been serving more than 200 people a week who don’t have access to a good hot meal. The program has been running for more than 50 years.

Visit www.paulistcenter.org to volunteer to help out in any way (cook, serve, clean up; donate supplies, food or money; etc.) or for more information.

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.

Beacon Hill Garden Club – Donations welcome

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening.

Even though the Beacon Hill Garden Club has canceled two of its most prestigious events last year – the Beacon Hill Garden Soiree and the BH Hidden Gardens Tour – they are still making donations to various organizations in Boston and Massachusetts, and they encourage you to do so in your local community to help organizations dedicated to horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org for more information.