Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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The duck statues in the Public Garden like to get dressed up for special events. This is how they got dressed up for Easter last year. They remembered to wear their masks.

‘Women’s Challenges in the World of Philosophy’

During all the festivities of le mois de la Francophonie the French Cultural Center also celebrates women’s day.

During a panel discussion from 10 to 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, participants will discover the path of four French speaking female philosophers from Belgium, France and Québec who will debate the place of women in this predominantly male field.

The panel discussion will be followed by a live Q&A, come ready with your questions.

This event is co-presented with Wallonie-Bruxelles International à NY and La Délégation du Québec à Boston. This free event will be in French.

Visit https://frenchculturalcenter.org/events/womens-challenges-in-the-world-of-philosophy for more information and registration.

Build It! (on Zoom)                                                              

Children, ages 5 through 12, and their families are invited to join Librarian Patty from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 27 to tackle a monthly building challenge.

The participants will use supplies found in their homes, principles of engineering and a lot of ingenuity to make balloon powered cars. How long will it drive? Let's find out together.

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

Barre en français                                                                 

Exercise your body and your 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 to 10 a.m. on Monday, March 29 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome.

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

GBH Beyond the Page Book Club                                                                         

These days, everyone could use a little joy and a heartfelt story. Join the GBH Beyond the Page Book Club in reading The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali. Then join the group from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 29 for a live discussion with author Marjan Kamali, where people can ask questions about the book, her journey and more.

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

Visit www.wgbh.org/events/the-stationery-shop for more information and registration.

‘The Parlor and the Public: Tin Pan Alley and the Birth of Manhattan Mass’

During the late 19th century, the upstart sheet music firms known as Tin Pan Alley developed a revolutionary approach to publishing, constructing a system able to sell songs at a previously unimaginable scale and rate.

Relying on New York’s central role in national performance networks to disseminate their compositions, this industry was defined by the tension between publishers’ attempts to create mass-marketing commodities, and the fast-moving, alcohol-drenched urban environments in which their products were required to thrive.

The Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30.

Visit https://masshist.org/calendar/event?event=3425 for more information and registration.

Book Group for Adults on the Spectrum: ‘Calypso’                               

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 March 30, the group will discuss Calypso by David Sedaris.

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

Allyship and the Mass. 54th

Black Lives Matter has ignited public conversation about racial equity and justice. As the nation reckons with injustice, what does it mean to be an ally and/or accomplice?

Join the Partnership to Renew the Shaw 54th Memorial from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30 as they honor the enduring legacy of the Massachusetts 54th and Col. Robert Gould Shaw through an exploration of the roles of allies, accomplices and allyship in building an antiracist society. This event is free, nonpartisan and open to the public.

Visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__nIfiXrPRIWFCs7T8seTtA for Zoom registration. Guests also are welcome to join on Facebook Live (video) @FriendsofthePublicGarden or via livestream @WCVB5.

For more information, visit https://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/shaw54th.

Boston Dance Theater ‘together apart’

Nearing the first anniversary of the United States' nationwide lockdown, the dance film titled We are all together apart will premiere virtually at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. This free live stream event on the Goethe-Institut Boston YouTube channel includes messages from director Christoph Mücher, expert statements, and an interview from Boston Dance Theater founder/co-director and choreographer Jessie Jeanne Stinnett.

Informed by documentary interviews sourced from 1989 Germany following the collapse of the Berlin wall, an event that sparked a complex process of healing and reunification, Stinnett and her collaborators explore connections between those stories and their experiences of the ongoing effects of the current pandemic. It will surely be an inspiring, eye-opening, and vulnerable evening.

For more information and registration, visit www.goethe.de/ins/us/en/sta/bos/ver.cfm?fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=22094337.

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga                                                  

YogaHub will present an Older Adults’ Chair Yoga from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting on a chair or standing using a chair for support. Participants will learn calming postures and breathing techniques to open energy channels, release tension and alleviate pain.

This type of yoga is great to improve physical comfort, cultivate balance and move easily through daily activities.

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

Hidden Gems: Revival of the Muddy River within the Emerald Necklace 

The story of the Emerald Necklace (aka Muddy River riparian corridor) reveals how landscapes along urban waterways provide essential ecosystem connectivity. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy fulfills the aspirations of Hartford native Frederick Law Olmsted by hosting a spectrum of activities along the irregular path of the Muddy River.

Revitalization of Boston’s Emerald Necklace is rooted in ambitious conservation goals of the late 19th and early 20th century. The impressive, historic scale of conservation can inspire communities to respond to the climate crisis with a new, 21st century parks movement.

This event - slated from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 1 and hosted by Park Watershed - will review the history of the Muddy River within the Emerald Necklace with guest Karen Mauney-Brodek of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. It will also summarize the efforts of the Olmsted 200 movement with guest Barbara A. Yaeger of the National Association of Olmsted Parks.

Visit https://www.emeraldnecklace.org/event/hidden-gems for more information and registration.

‘Fighting the Dogs’

As slavery expanded in the Americas, canine attacks were used as a particularly sadistic aspect of racist dehumanization. Through linked processes of breeding and training, slave hunters believed they had developed “natural” enemies between black people and the canines trained to hunt them.

This paper investigates how fugitives responded to this interspecies violence by using various techniques of environmental resistance outside the plantation’s confines. By analyzing how fugitives used herbal combinations, waterways and offensive weapons to subvert the canine's sensory advantage, this paper argues that enslaved communities should be understood as knowledge producers who studied their environments and used scientific awareness in their resistance.

The African American History Seminar invites everyone to join the conversation from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 1.

Visit https://masshist.org/calendar/event?event=3426 for more information and registration.

Spring Exhibition: ‘Brighter Traces’

The Guild of Boston Artists will present its spring exhibition titled Brighter Traces through Tuesday, April 30. The show will feature fresh new works by their members to inspire renewal, refreshment, and hope.

Visit the show in the Gallery at 162 Newbury St. or online at Artsy.net. All works are available for purchase.

Visit https://www.guildofbostonartists.org/events for more information.

BGMC: ENCORE 2021 Gala                                 

Heart thumping ...  Hooves stomping ...  Hopes rising ...  And They’re Off!

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus’s (BGMC’s) signature fundraiser is going virtual this year – live from the Regent Theatre on Saturday, May 1. The pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the live stream will start at 7 p.m.

A silent auction will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 22 and will close at 7 p.m. as the live stream begins. The live auction will take place during the live stream.

Catherine Peterson, Immediate Past Chair of Chorus America and Executive Director of ArtsBoston, will host this fun and interactive live experience that includes amazing and diverse entertainment, including music, comedy, a hat competition and more.

Some ticket packages will include the BGMC pod-pack with food, decor and everything to make ENCORE 2021 fabulous.

Go to https://www.bgmc.org/2021/03/04/encore-2021-gala/ for more information and tickets.

Camerata's online spring series

As the days lengthen and hope augments, Camerata will offer a mini-series of online programs with good talk and wonderful music to help get across this next stretch as follows:

Bridges to Spring: Sacred Music of the Three Abrahamic Religions will stream at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 26 through April 15.

Music of renewal and hope from Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions as the planet emerges from trying months. A performance plus a conversation with Anne Azéma and Joel Cohen.

Songs to the Lute will stream at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 through May 31.

A summit meeting in Renaissance and early Baroque song as Anne Azéma (voice) and Nigel North (lutes) explore intimate and sensual French repertoires.

Visit https://bostoncamerata.org for more information and registration (price per event varies).

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 as follows:

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.

Go to bostonballet.org/Home/Tickets-Performances/Performances/BB-at-your-home for more information and tickets. With each subscription ($180/series), you support their dancers, fuel new art-making, and invest in Boston Ballet's future. 

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’ – two more available

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 four plays - On Paying Attention by David Valdes, Monster in the Sky - by Ginger Lazarus, Kill the Dogs, Knock Them Over! by Liana Asim, and In Any Face by Miranda Austen ADEkoje are now available to stream with two more being released in the spring.

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

BSRA 

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.

April 3 - New York, Poland and Ukraine                                          

Eric Oszustowicz will present the scenes images of the New York City Subway system from 2015 to 2020. Recent images of the LIRR, Metro North and New Jersey Transit are also on the agenda in addition to a quick look at the newest NYCT buses. Then he will present photos of various tram and metro systems throughout Ukraine and Poland during 2017 and 2018. Commuter and intercity rail will also be included.

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

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.

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 ascboston.org 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 bbcboston.org/bridges/esl or bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

BPL’s 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.

It’s a great way to meet other new parents and learn from guest speakers.

Visit bpl.org/events 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 www.ascboston.org for more information and links to attend.

Kundalini yoga class

Experience fun exercises and poses, breathing techniques, chanting, meditation, and deep relaxation in this unique class at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Moving energy through your body brings positive change and growth. All welcome.

Visit www.ascboston.org for more information and Zoom registration ($10).

A safe space for people of all colors

If you identify as a person of color, Old South Church invites you to a time of connecting, a moment of breath, a reprieve from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. The group is open to people of all ages.

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

Virtual Jazz Coffee House                                                              

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be livestreamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at livestream.com/oldsouth.

The Bach Cantata Series                 

The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Artistic Director Ryan Turner, will present the 2020-2021 Bach Cantata Series through May 9.

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.

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 also 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.

LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings                                              

LGBTQ Catholics Unite 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 and share faith experiences, thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

Hosted by the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry, they hope that all LGBTQ+ Catholics will know that “God loves you, God created you, God is on your side, Jesus cares about you, and the church is your home.” All, including allies, are welcome.

For more info on how to connect via Zoom, email stceciliarainbowministry@gmail.com.

‘Unstill Life’ exhibition

The exhibition, Unstill Life by Samuel Bak will be on view at the Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St. through Sunday, April 18.

A survivor of the Holocaust, Bak’s paintings are kaleidoscopic in its daring, with surprising pairings of objects, landscapes, and architectural features; ambiguous, intriguing, and full of contradictions, a soul-searing canvas filled with embers of memories smoldering under the weight of history.

Visit www.puckergallery.com to view the Exhibition Catalogue and for a list of virtual gatherings and events accompanying Unstill Life.

Gallery hours: Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Members Show: ‘New Beginnings’

The Members Show: New Beginnings will be on view at the Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. through Sunday, April 25.

In this thematic juried show, these artist members reflect on various new beginnings - from the annual transition from winter to spring, to new ways in which the global pandemic has altered how we approach and live our lives.

Temporary Gallery hours:  Tuesdays – Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; Mondays by appointment.

Visit https://copleysociety.org/events/members-show-new-beginnings for more information.

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

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvW2Tj1BpOxIgOhG40O680mouCDFa9252.

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 Best of the Ghost Light Series One Hour Special which premiered at 7 p.m. on March 13 on NECN.

Visit bochcenter.org for more information.

Saturday Salon: International influence on Boston architecture                        

Historical context and reference are a very important aspect in understanding architecture.

Presented by Boston by Foot guide Rob Anderson, this three-part series, slated from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on select Saturdays will focus on past international influences on Boston architecture, through visual comparisons and connections as follows:

April 10: Boston Public Library

May 15: Boston City Hall

Visit https://bostonbyfoot.org/saturday-salon-international-influence-boston-architecture for more information and registration (Eventbrite - $0-$8).

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.

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.

Future Readers Book Club/Events

The Boston Public Library hosts the Future Readers Club for children, ages five years and younger, and their caregivers, with a goal of reading 1,000 books together before the child begins kindergarten.

Register at bpl.org to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at bostonpl.beanstack.org.

In addition, the BPL offers an assortment of programs as part of the Future Readers Club to engage children in stories, songs, finger play and crafts.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration to each event.

Genealogy for the next generation                                                 

Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/youth.

These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.

Big Sister mentoring                                                                                    

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister and Little Sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit www.bigsister.org.

Boston Ballet  videos                                     

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on www.bostonballet.org along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at www.facebook.com/bostonballet and/or www.instagram.com/bostonballet.

Support Boston Ballet at www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/Donate.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information                              

Boston Eats provides 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. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information 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.

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

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.

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 distribute sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries 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 www.omvusa.org/about/groups 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 www.commoncathedral.org 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 www.Fridaynightsupper.org 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 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.