Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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This is the Berkeley Building as seen from Boylston Street at Berkeley Street on May 28, 1920. The Berkeley Building was completed in 1905 and was designed by Stephen Codman and Constant-Désiré Despradelle. Today, the building is still in fine shape with the original 1905 storefronts intact. Learn more from Digital Commonwealth at www.digitalcommonwealth.org.

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).

11 places that have shaped innovation in Boston, 1636-2021

Author of the recently-published book Innovation Economy and longtime Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner, will take people on a photographic tour of 11 places in the Boston area that have given birth to world-changing inventions - from the telephone to COVID vaccines to robots that vacuum the living room.

Kirsner will be joined in conversation by iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 12 as they discuss the dynamics that make New England such a fertile place for invention and entrepreneurship and Greiner's journey in the innovation economy. 

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

Biodiversity where you are: Boston area City Nature Challenge

As a member of the Steering Committee organizing the 2021 City Nature Challenge, Dr. Colleen Hitchcock from Brandeis University will talk about citizen science and nature documentation in the Boston area, how scientists and the public can work together to document nature, and what they’ve learned so far from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 12.

Registrants will learn how to get involved in the City Nature Challenge and document nature from April 30 through May 9 and how to get started with iNaturalist. The CNC has been held for the past five years in Boston each spring engaging close to 1,000 people each year. Together they have made great progress in documenting local species.

Visit https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/60521213ba1629c503dc17b3 for more information and Zoom registration.

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.

‘Terror to the Wicked: American’s First Trial by Jury…’

An online conversation with Tobey Pearl, author of Terror to the Wicked: America's First Trial by Jury That Ended a War and Helped to Form a Nation will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13.

In Terror to the Wicked, Pearl provides a riveting account of a brutal killing, an all-out manhunt and the first murder trial in U.S. history set in the 1600s in colonial New England against the backdrop of the Pequot War (between the Pequot tribe and the colonists of Massachusetts Bay). It was an explosive trial whose outcome changed the course of history, ended a two-year war and brought about a peace that allowed the colonies to become a nation.

This talk is presented in partnership with American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society (AA/NEHGS), Boston Public Library and the State Library of Massachusetts.  

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

Genealogy from home: Revolutionary War ancestors

Looking to join the Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution, or just curious about your ancestors that served in the Revolutionary War?

This class from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14 will provide a basic overview in how to research your Revolutionary ancestors using military records, many of which can be found online.

It will also cover how to use military records for general genealogical research.

Register at: https://boston-public-library.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvfuyprjItHtG1CxlFPadCvYGWyhbcbodl.

Boston school desegregation through the rear view mirror

In 1972, a group of African American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools. After a trial, a federal court determined that the Boston School Committee had intentionally discriminated on the basis of race by operating a dual school system that extended to school assignments, facilities and staffing. When officials failed to produce a timely remedy, the court ordered institutional reforms, including re-districting and the re-assignment of students.

In this program from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, panelists will reflect on the lessons to be learned from Boston’s school desegregation experience.

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

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 Thursday, 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 Monday, 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:

May 13-May 23: Process & Progress (Date change)

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. 

Tour of Musée franco-américain du Château de Blérancourt and live Q&A

The French Cultural Center will welcome Valérie Lagier, Chief Heritage Curator of the Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt Castle from 11 to 11:45 a.m. on Friday, April 16. The Franco-American museum is the only one in France dedicated to the relationships between France and the United States.

This event will be in two parts: First, registrants will watch a unique 20-minute video at your leisure in which Museum Director Rodolphe Rapetti will give a warm welcome and Valérie Lagier will talk about the incredible history of the French and American friendship.

Second, meet Valérie Lagier, live from the museum, who will give a brief presentation followed by a live Q&A. The program will be in English.

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

Tartan Tales: Stories from historic Scottish houses

From the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace in Croatia to Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast, historian and raconteur Curt DiCamillo will lead a romping, fascinating tour through Scottish history using architecture and great houses as his guide from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Friday, April 16.

With “appearances” by master architect and Scotsman Robert Adam, Dwight Eisenhower, Rudolf Hess, Macbeth, the Roman Pantheon and Rugby School, among others, this is a wide-ranging lecture paints a rich story of Scotland.

Kidnappings, bloody battles and cannibalism – these, together with glittering silver, timeless portraits and some of the world’s finest Chippendale furniture, all play parts in this fast-paced and unique compilation of Scottish history.

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

Commonwealth School Model UN                                                            

Join UNAGB for a day full of public speaking, diplomacy and critical thinking at this year’s Commonwealth School Model UN Conference (COMMUN) at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. This conference, held in partnership with Commonwealth School in Boston, is an innovative Model UN conference for middle school aged students in grades 6 through 8.

Visit https://www.unagb.org/events/april-17-2021-commonwealth-school-model-un-commun for more information and registration (fee applies).

The Labyrinth of Time: The Norn scene in Götterdämmerung

Pianist Jeffrey Swann will speak about the Norns, three magical beings in Wagner's music drama Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) from the standpoint of the composer’s evocation of past, present and future times at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 17.

The discussion will be followed by a performance of the entire scene in Swann’s own piano transcription.

Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-labyrinth-of-time-the-norn-scene-in-gotterdammerung-tickets-145910106055 for more information and Zoom registration (General public: $10 | Members: free).

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.

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

The Guild of Boston Artists will present The Art of Tom Nicholas, N.A 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.

Opening Day

Community Boating Boston, 21 David G Mugar Way will celebrate Opening Day on Saturday, April 24.

Adult program members will have the option to either reserve their boat in advance or walk-up day of and sign out a boat. Reservations are limited; the majority of their fleet will be available for walk-ups.

Reservations can be booked two weeks in advance, beginning Saturday, April 10.

Community Boating has been offering Sailing for All since 1946.

Visit https://www.community-boating.org for more information.

‘50 Years of Friends: Memories, Moments & Milestones ‘                      

Please join the Friends of the Public Garden for 50 Years of Friends: Memories, Moments & Milestones at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30.

Spring will soon return to the parks and, as they have for 50 years, the Friends of the Public Garden will be there, continuing their commitment to these special spaces. Their mission of parks care, sculpture care and advocacy is made possible by your generosity.

Your support of this 50th anniversary celebration ensures that the three parks remain vibrant and healthy spaces for all.

(Please note that this 50th anniversary celebration takes place in lieu of their traditional Green & White Ball in 2021.)

Go to https://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/events/50th-anniversary-virtual-celebration for more information and reservations (Sponsorship opportunities and individual tickets are available).

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.

Tween Time                                                                                      

Tweens, ages 8-12, are invited to join librarians for games and activities from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Thursdays. There will be something different every week and it’s a great way to hang out with kids your age.

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

Virtual Jazz Coffee House                                                              

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.