Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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Flowers are starting to bloom on Beacon Hill. Spring is here.

Puppet Show with Through You to Me Puppetry

Through Me to You Puppetry invites everyone to join Newton and his puppet friends for some story-time fun from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 10. 

Newton and his friends will take turns reading stories and singing songs with the kids. At the end of the show, the kids are invited to “unmute” and say hi to Newton - geared to ages 3-7, but all are welcome.

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

‘Weaving Our Collective Stories of Race’ art journaling series

The Beacon Hill Friends will host a six-week series from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 10 through Saturday, May 15.

This workshop is for anyone of any racial/ethnic identity who feels drawn to both exploring the topic of one’s own internal relationship to race and witnessing others’ stories no matter where they are in their journey of understanding.

To begin each session, LJ will offer poetry, creative writing, teachings about white supremacy culture and/or visual art that focus on an aspect of race and race relations. Participants will then be invited to relax into a guided meditation, followed by the flow of art journaling, closing with a time for (optional) reflective sharing and contemplative quiet. 

Courage, compassion and vulnerability are required to do this work collectively. The facilitator, LJ is highly skilled in holding this type of space and requests that in signing up for it, you are also ready for this collective experience. No previous artistic experience is needed as the participants will be using art to process rather than producing pieces of art.

Visit https://bhfh.org/weaving-our-collective-stories-of-race-spring-2021 for more information and registration (fees apply).

Chameleon Arts Ensemble virtual series 3: ‘through the looking glass’

The Chameleon Arts Ensemble will present through the looking glass at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. The concert will be streamed on-demand through Saturday, April 17.

Upside down and inside out… Satie parodies a Baroque suite while Beethoven shares a friendly duo with a comic wink.

Janáček presents a dramatic interpretation of Tolstoy’s novella and Schumann, with his ever-fertile imagination, reveals a world of passion and poetry. Join them as they climb through the mirror into fantastical realms of shifting perspective and whimsical storytelling.

Ticket holders will additionally be able to watch exclusive artist interviews, download PDF program books and enjoy much-loved essays on the music.

Go to https://chameleonarts.org/virtual-concerts/through-the-looking-glass for more information and tickets ($15).

Ben Rosenberg on The Shaw Memorial restoration

Ben Rosenberg, the principal-in-charge, will talk about the restoration and seismic retrofit of the Shaw Memorial at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 12.

Visit www.beaconhillvillage.org for more information and registration.

‘Hadassah: An American Story’

Hadassah Lieberman will talk about her new book, Hadassah: An American Story, at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 12.

In Hadassah, Lieberman pens the compelling story of her extraordinary life: from her family’s experience in Eastern Europe to their move to Gardner; forging her career; experiencing divorce; and, following her remarriage, her life on the national political stage.

By offering insight into her identity as an immigrant, an American Jew, a working woman and a wife, mother and grandmother, Lieberman’s memoir speaks to many of the major issues of this time - from immigration to gender politics. Featuring a foreword by Joe Lieberman and an afterword by Megan McCain, it is a true American story.

This event is hosted by The Vilna, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Jewish Women's Archive, The Holocaust Center LA and the Illinois Holocaust Center and Museum.

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

Book Talk: 'This is Shakespeare'

Emma Smith will talk with Stephen Greenblatt about her new book, This is Shakespeare, from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13.

A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no other. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality and literary mastery. A man who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else. Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of. But it doesn’t tell us the whole truth.

In This Is Shakespeare, Smith takes people into a world of politicking and copycatting as Shakespeare emulating the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd (the Spielberg and Tarantino of their day), flirting with and skirting around the cutthroat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval and technological change.

Smith writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity and sex. Instead of offering the answers, the Shakespeare she reveals poses awkward questions, always inviting the reader to ponder ambiguities.

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

How Cuff Whittemore used military service to claim freedom                                                                         

Cuff Whittemore of Arlington fought with his militia company at Lexington and Concord, then at Bunker Hill, then for seven more years in the Continental Army. Why did this African-American man choose to join the rebellion, then reenlist over and over again after it had blossomed into a war?

Join a quest from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13 to discover new perspectives, questions and historical evidence that give a better understanding of how Whittemore and the African-American New Englanders of his generation confronted the great changes all around them as they grew into adulthood.

This online program is co-presented by The National Park Service and the Boston Public Library.

Visit https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/5ff78f84ea426ca20d6516a9 for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Art Songs of Black American Composers’

In this time of widespread racial violence and unrest, the Boston Art Song Society, in collaboration with guest baritone Emery Stephens, will explore the amplification of Black voices in the white-dominated classical music field from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

This event will include performances by pianists Ann Schaefer and Pierre-Nicolas Colombat and will conclude with a live Q&A session with the artists.

Dr. Stephens’ Singing Down the Barriers project aims to empower and encourage singers, voice teachers, voice coaches and researchers of all ethnicities to study and perform the historically rich vocal music of classically-trained African-American composers.

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

Lifesavers Speaker Series: The Journey for a Vaccine

Dr. Tal Zaks, Chief Medical Officer at Moderna, will discuss the science and journey behind developing the mRNA vaccine to combat COVID-19 at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

Join them for a behind-the-scenes look into how Moderna translated science into medicine, and the future for this vaccine and COVID. 

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

Shakespeare Reimagined: 'Orlando'                      

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and the Coolidge Corner Theatre have teamed up to take an in-depth look at how some filmmakers have reimagined Shakespeare’s work to create compelling cinema that is as relevant today as it was four hundred years ago.

A live panel discussion with experts on film and theater will be held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14 to discuss Orlando, a 1992 film based on Virginia Woolf’s classic Orlando: A Biography and directed by English director Sally Potter.

The sumptuous fantasy stars Tilda Swinton as the eponymous 17th century nobleman who, commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to never age, voyages through 400 years of English history, first as a man, then as a woman. The film is a celebration of the Elizabethan age that explores gender issues that remain timely today.

Visit https://commshakes.org/tickets for more information and Zoom registration ($10).

Friends of the Public Garden 51st annual meeting                                                          

Friends of the Public Garden will host its 51st annual meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 15. The meeting will feature Imari Paris Jeffries of King Boston presenting “How Boston’s Newest Memorial Can Help Build the Beloved Community;” welcoming remarks by Board Chair Leslie Singleton Adam; and a presentation on 2020 Friends activities in the parks from President Liz Vizza. A Q&A segment will follow.

Visit https://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/2021/03/09/april-15-annual-meeting-51 for more information, including the 2020 Annual Meeting Minutes and Zoom registration.

‘The Untold Stories of Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos’

Author Judy Batalion will to talk her new book, The Light of Days, a true tale of war, the fight for freedom, exceptional bravery, female friendship and survival in the face of staggering odds at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 15.

The novel focuses on a cadre of Jewish women in Poland, some still in their teens, that witnessed the brutal murder of their families and neighbors, and the violent destruction of their communities. As a result of their trauma, they helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis.

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

Kanopy Club: ‘The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness’  

The Boston Public Library invites everyone to watch the documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013) on Kanopy and then join the discussion from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 15.

Visit https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/605aa54cb46aa13900adb4bb for more information and registration.

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club                                                                                

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20 to discuss Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/276288863 for more information and registration.

‘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.

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.

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

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and 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.

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

Following the book discussion of 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 by Gretchen Rubin that took place in January, 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 hold its last meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday:

-          May 5: Happy memories

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

Hill House spring programs and summer camps online/onsite

Registration for the spring program and summer camps at Hill House, Inc., 127 Mount Vernon St. is open for new and returning participants.

Check out the wide variety of offerings in their Spring Athletic and Program Guide and Summer Camp Guide from spring baseball and softball leagues, STEM and creative expressions to summer onsite and offsite opportunities.

Hill House Camps (Kiddie Kamp for 3-to-5-year-olds and Day Camp for 5-to-12-year-olds) offer weekly Kiddie Kamp onsite adventures; Day Camp field trips; expanded enrichment opportunities; sailing, theatre, sports and film camp options; weekly themes; extended day options for Day Campers; and expanded LIT program for 13-to-15-year-olds.

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

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

Operation ABLE                                                                              

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St.) 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.

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.

MOS experience onsite/online

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

Highlights of your visit can include: the new permanent exhibit, Arctic Adventure: Exploring with Technology; the temporary exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar; a variety of shows in the Planetarium; and Superpower Dogs in the newly refurbished Mugar Omni Theater.

MOS at home also offers an array of programs and events. 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 for more information and reservations.

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.

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.

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.

Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed                   

There are times when we could all use a helping hand and other times when we could lend one, and that’s the underlying sentiment behind Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed (NIN NID) – a program that connects St. Joseph’s parishioners with neighbors who could use a little assistance or just some cheering up.

If you are in need of anything – or are willing to assist them in outreach – please email office@stjosephboston.org or call the office at 617-523-4342 with your name, phone number, email, and a list of items needed, or availability to serve.

Old West Church Community Lunch/Dinner

Everyone is invited to the community meals at the Old West Church at 131 Cambridge St. – served rain or shine and holidays, too. While these meals primarily serve people who are housing insecure or elderly, it’s for anyone.

The Community Lunch is served from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Community Dinner is served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

During the pandemic, the meals are served to go. Everyone is welcome to come by and grab a hot meal to takeaway.

Visit www.oldwestchurch.org 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.

‘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.

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