Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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Old South Church in Copley Square is a historic landmark in Copley Square. Today, it is a United Church of Christ congregation, first organized in 1669.

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. He will also present photos of various tram and metro systems throughout Ukraine and Poland taken in 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.

Spotlight Exhibition: ‘The Art of Tom Nicholas, N.A’

The Guild of Boston Artists will present The Art of Tom Nicholas, N.A from Saturday, April 3 through Saturday, April 24.

The show will feature 22 landscapes by Nicholas and include watercolors, oil paintings and drawings from the artist's travels within the New England region and abroad. The assembled works reflect the artist's creative drive and unceasing devotion to the natural world around him.

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.

‘Citizen Science at the BPL’                                                                                   

Individuals and families are invited to join "The Citizen Science at the BPL" virtual event from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 5 to kick off Citizen Science Month in April.

The group will discuss citizen science and be introduced to projects involving field observation, data reporting, and other hands-on activities that can be done outside or inside to help real scientists with their research and accelerate discovery.

Go to https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/604673d9a2ac672300d6a0bc for more information and Zoom registration.

​‘Boston’s Jewish Family Businesses: The Colonial Era to the Present’

From the Hays-Touro family in the 1770s, to Filene's and Stop and Shop in the 20th century, to today's fourth- and fifth-generation Jewish family enterprises, Boston and its environs have been home to notable multi-generational Jewish family businesses.

Michael Feldberg, Ph.D., Executive Director of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, shares his research into notable family businesses in Greater Boston and explores the role that Jewish values and tradition may have played in the inter-generational transfer of significant Boston-area companies. 

This Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS Event will be presented from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Visit https://www.americanancestors.org for more information and registration.

‘Until Justice Be Done’ author talk

Kate Masur and Edward Ayers will discuss Masur’s book, Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction, a pathbreaking new history of this early civil rights movement and its landmark achievements from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6 hosted by The Massachusetts Historical Society.

Visit https://masshist.org for more information and registration.

‘The Last American Aristocrat’ author talk

Historian David Brown sheds light on the life and times of Henry Adams, perhaps the most eclectic accomplished and important American writer of his time. His autobiography and modern classic The Education of Henry Adams was widely considered one of the best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century.

The last member of his distinguished family - after great-grandfather John Adams and grandfather John Quincy Adams - to gain national attention, he is remembered today as an historian, a political commentator and a memoirist.

Presenting intimate and insightful details of a fascinating and unusual American life and a new window on nineteenth century US history, Brown offers a more “modern” and “human” Henry Adams than ever before.

The Massachusetts Historical Society will host this talk from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6.

Visit https://masshist.org for more information and registration.

‘Period Rooms in America, 1900-1940’                             

The Gibson House will present Period Rooms: National Identity, Interior Design and the Politics of Preservation in America, 1900-1940 from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Heather Hole, associate professor of art history at Simmons University, examines early-twentieth-century period rooms within the context of contemporary debates over "Americanness," immigration, and race – debates that continue to haunt us today.

Visit https://www.thegibsonhouse.org/events.html for more information and registration ($10 members, $12 nonmembers).

Seema Yasmin, MD: Inside the Outbreak                                                 

Emmy Award-winning medical journalist and CNN analyst Dr. Seema Yasmin will join Boston Public Library President David Leonard from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6 to discuss what happens at the epicenter of an epidemic.

As an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Dr. Yasmin was tasked with hunting diseases and chasing epidemics. Inside prisons, across border towns and within the walls of hospitals and workplaces, she traced microbes and worked to protect communities.

Pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of epidemic investigations, Dr. Yasmin tells stories from the front lines of global public health to demonstrate how humans are increasingly connected and epidemics are the new normal.

This program, presented in partnership with the GBH Forum Network, is part of both the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL's Repairing America Series.

Register at wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/6116158372401/WN_r33E7v2OTdy6Okr41ky6ZA.

‘Jewels that Made History: 100 Stones, Myths and Legends’

Since ancient times, shiny stones and precious metals have determined empires and inspired expeditions, communicated status and brought about ruin.

In Jewels, Stellene Volandes takes us on a surprising and glittering tour of historic turning points and gem-driven drama, delving into the passions and predilections of those who’ve been adorned by or collected jewelry.

With NEHGS Curator of Special Collections and jewelry enthusiast Curt DiCamillo, she’ll discuss the prevalence and influence of jewels as part of ancient treasures, the prize of great heists, and star performers on the red carpet and at royal weddings. Don’t miss their illustrated conversation from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 8.

Visit https://www.americanancestors.org for more information and registration.

Podcast to Page: Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee

The French Cultural Center will welcome Oliver Gee back, author of Paris on Air, accompanied by Lina Nordin Gee, his wife and the illustrator of Kylie the Crocodile from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 10.

They will discuss the process of transforming a successful podcast episode for young and older francophiles into a children’s book. The Gee’s will also share some positive stories from Paris’ strict summer lockdown.

The author/illustrator talk will be followed by a live Q&A from Paris, so come ready with questions. This online event will be in English.

Visit https://frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and registration (Members - $8 | Non-members - $12).

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).

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. 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).

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 available to stream with two more being released later this spring.

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

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.

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.

Family Book Group: ‘They All Saw a Cat’                                     

The Boston Public Library’s Family Book Group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13 to discuss the April Community Read – They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenze.

Go to https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/6001ed8aab84cc7d08f65b31 for more information and Zoom 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 as follows:

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. 

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 the 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.