Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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This saucer magnolia tree is beautiful when in bloom in the Public Garden.

Family Book Club: Neena Gulati

The Boston Public Library will celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by welcoming Neena Gulati, who founded the Triveni School of dance to bring “classical Indian Dance, social awareness and the celebration of cultural diversity."

On Saturday, May 8 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gulati will show attendees some dance moves that the group can all try together, and then they'll finish up by reading Thread of Love by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal. Families with children in K-3rd grade are welcome to attend.

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

Chameleon Arts Ensemble virtual series 4: ‘songs of solitude’

The Chameleon Arts Ensemble will present songs of solitude at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.

The concert will be available to stream on-demand through Saturday, May 15.

From Mendelssohn’s gracious lyricism and Dohnányi’s sonorous melodies, to Adams’ majestic glacial peaks and Still’s visions of paradise, they offer a poignant program that reminds us our solitude is temporary and songs will break through.

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/songs-of-solitude for more information and tickets ($15).

Virtual Duckling Day

Duckling Day celebrates mothers everywhere. Inspired by the tenacity of Mrs. Mallard from the famous Make Way for Ducklings, the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, everyone is invited to join the Friends of the Public Garden for its signature virtual reading, beginning at noon on Sunday, May 9, broadcast on their Facebook page. They have assembled an all-star cast to share this timeless story.

Following the reading, the program will continue with engaging and delightful entertainment for the entire family. 

Karen K and the Jitterbugs will perform their hit song “Get Down” with some special Duckling Day themed words and Bonaparte the Magician will perform some duckling magic. Want to create some fun Duckling crafts at home? Directions to make Finger Puppets can be found on their website.

Visit https://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/2021/03/08/may-09-2021-virtual-duckling-day for more information.

The Japanese-American experience and World War II

American Ancestors NEHGS and Boston Public Library, in partnership with the Japan Society of Boston and GBH Forum Network, presents celebrated author Daniel James Brown and his latest work, Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12.

This is an unforgettable World War II saga of patriotism, highlighting the contributions and sacrifices of four Japanese-American families and their sons. The story of one courageous Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe while their families were incarcerated back home and the tale of a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment.

Following a short, illustrated presentation Brown, Roland Nozomu Kelts will join in for an enlightening conversation.

Visit https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/6416178355821/WN_ApnVmgVjTyeJa-TiW0rB-w for more information.

‘The Untold Story of Jewish Families and Their English Country Houses’

The story of the Jews and England is long and complicated. This illustration-rich, art-drenched, history-filled lecture, presented by Curt DiCamillo in partnership with the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 13, will be filled with many of those chronicles.

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

‘Where Do We Go from Here?’

Epidemiologist, journalist, and filmmaker Dr. Celine Gounder will join Boston Public Library President David Leonard to examine the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday May 13.

For description and Zoom registration go to https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/3016158610949/WN_UwS79WLtSkC5X0Ih1xtrjQ.

Democracy's Front Porch Webinar Series                                    

Wentworth University Professor Emeritus Lois Ascher will lead a three-part webinar on the importance of urban public space, exploring four of Boston’s most treasured spots at 6:30 p.m. on select Thursdays as follows:

– May 13: Palaces for the People looks at Boston’s Public Library and Public Garden.

– May 27: The Color of Water: A Civil Discourse explores Boston’s role in providing public access to clean water. The discussion includes a look at Chestnut Hill’s Waterworks Museum and its original role as a pumping station.

This event is presented by The West End Museum.

For more information and registration, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/democracys-front-porch-webinar-series-tickets-151819517263.

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 

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. 

Copley Square Farmers Market

The Copley Square Farmers Market – Boston's biggest and busiest farmers market featuring more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers offering a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays from Friday, May 14 through Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Accepts: SNAP, HIP & Nutrition Vouchers

GBH Spring Auction

The GBH Spring Auction will be held through Thursday, June 3.  Hundreds of items will up for bid with new items offered daily.  

All proceeds benefit GBH, allowing them to keep the news, programs and events you enjoy on air and online. Get a head start and register to bid at auction.gbh.org.

Reading the Rainbow: An LGBTQ Book Group             

Reading the Rainbow – a Boston Public Library online-exclusive book group geared towards members of the LGBTQ+ community interested in reading fiction, memoirs and graphic novels that center on sapphic, transgender and nonbinary identities – will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on the second Friday of the month on Slack.

Join the group on May 14 for a lively discussion of Snapshots of a Girl by Beldan Sezen .

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including required registration.

Teen Central 2021 Game Jam - Contest Q&A                             

Are you an aspiring teen game-maker? Are you interested in games that make a difference?

Do you think you’re the best teen game creator in Boston? Find out at the Boston Public Library's first-ever Game Jam.

The challenge is simple: in teams or by yourself, create a short game that draws attention to an issue affecting your local or global communities.

The official "kickoff" of the Game Jam, where teens will get a chance to meet their competitors, grill judges, ask questions and form teams (if they haven’t already) will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 14. 

Groups and individuals can begin to submit their game after this event and all submissions must occur by midnight on May 31 (full submission details on BPL website). 

Set your calendars for June 11 at 5 p.m. where competitors and the public will be invited to the closing ceremony and the winners of the top three prizes, which include a grand prize valued at $200, are revealed.

All game-makers, aspiring game-makers, friends and family are invited to take part in this special maker event.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration. To enter the contest, people must be registered for this event.

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:

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).

Emmanuel Music Presents: Handel – ‘La Resurrezione’                                    

Premiered during the Easter season of 1708 in Rome, the brilliant oratorio La Resurrezione traces the mystical events that occurred between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The music, by a blazing young talent from Saxony called Georg Friederich Händel, dazzles with its colorful orchestration and vivid passion.

Filmed under the direction of Nathan Troup in and around the dark corners, commanding facades, and beautiful stained glass windows of Boston’s Emmanuel Church, the production unveils via live stream on YouTube at 8 p.m. on May 15.

WLP Mother’s Day Cards

Women’s Lunch Place (WLP), a day shelter that provides meals and programs for women experiencing homelessness and poverty, is back with its 19th year of Mother’s Day cards.

In a reflection of the resilience shown by the women they serve, this year’s design is a vibrant collage crafted from fragments of other greeting cards and Mother’s Day designs from years past.

Each $25 card will provide lunch for one woman for five days through WLP’s Healthy Meals program.

Visit https://womenslunchplace.org/mothers-day for more information and the link to purchase.

‘The Widows of Malabar Hill’   

The Community Read Book Group for Adults will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

The librarian will moderate the discussion of The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

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

Teen Book Discussion Group: ‘Here to Stay’                   

The Teen Book Discussion Group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 20 to discuss Here to Stay by Sara Farizan.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the book synopsis and Twitch registration.

Two new exhibitions at Pucker Gallery

Two new exhibitions will be on view at Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St. (3rd floor) through Sunday, May 30.

Symphony in Persimmon, Black and Yellow by Yoshinori Hagiwara – Yoshinori Hagiwara WebinART will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 22

Visit www.puckergallery.com for more information, including the exhibition catalogs and Zoom registration.

Swan Boats open

A welcome sign of spring, the Swan Boats will once again sail the waters of the Boston Public Garden. Swan Boats drivers will paddle passengers around the Public Garden Lagoon for a peaceful, 15-minute cruise. Masks required.

Spring hours – May 8 to June 20 – Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Summer hours – June 21 to Labor Day – Daily: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit https://swanboats.com/take-a-ride for more information and reservations (Tickets: Free to $4.50).

Community Boating kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals

Community Boating offers an opportunity to view Boston from an angle rarely seen. Rent a kayak and explore the Charles River Basin and Frederick Law Olmstead esplanade lagoon system while enjoying breathtaking views of historic Back Bay, Beacon Hill, MIT and the Zakim and Longfellow bridges. Available through Sunday, Sept. 26.

Two-hour kayak (single or tandem) and stand-up-paddle-boards rentals are available for $32 per person plus taxes and fees. Membership includes kayaks and SUPs at no cost (not including Wicked Basic Sailing Pass).

Visit www.community-boating.org/rentals/kayak-paddling-rentals for more information and registration.

Boston Open Market at Copley Square

In partnership with the Friends of Copley Square, New England Open Markets will operate the Boston Open Market - a new weekly arts market held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 27.

Visit www.newenglandopenmarkets.com/events for more information.

Jean Stapleton and the spiritual dimensions of ‘All in the Family’

Fifty years have passed since the debut of the revolutionary sitcom All in the Family.

In a podcast episode that examines its impact on American television culture, they’ll explore the pivotal role of Edith Bunker, as portrayed by actor Jean Stapleton, discussing in particular the ways she brought to those performances a spiritual commitment tied to her Christian Science faith.

Guests include Jim Cullen, author of the recently published Those Were the Days: Why ‘All in the Family’ Still Matters, and Steve Graham, author of an article on Jean Stapleton in The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s “Women of History” series.

Visit www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/podcast/52-jean-stapleton-and-the-spiritual-dimensions-of-all-in-the-family to listen to the 26-minute Podcast.

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’ – 4:6 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.

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.

Game Time!                                                                                      

Children and teens of all ages are invited to play games and make friends in a Zoom room from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays through June 25, hosted by the Boston Public Library. 

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

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.

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.

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.