Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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The Old South Church at 645 Boylston St. has created this memorial to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Paper Crane Project” was first put on display on Easter Day. The paper figures on the memorial represent peace, hope and the heart’s desire.

‘From the River to the Sea’

From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad that Made the West is the epic story of the greatest railroad war of all time, fought by two railroad men for glory and fortune - and the right to shape the future of the West.

John Sedgwick will talk about Boston’s role in this 1869 saga from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1.

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

‘Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching’

The Boston Public Library, State Library of Massachusetts, Museum of African American History and the Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM) will host an online discussion with Dr. Jarvis R. Givens, author of Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, and BEAM President Dr. Kim Parker from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2.

A fresh portrayal of one of the architects of the African American intellectual tradition, whose faith in the subversive power of education will inspire teachers and learners today.

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

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.

Check the Mic Practice Session/Performers series for teens  

JR Mahung from Grub Street will present a three-part series – two practice sessions from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 and June 10 with an open mic on June 17 – for beginners and experienced writers/performers.

Teens, ages 12 to 19, can participate in one, two or all three events. And any teen can perform during the open mic event, whether or not they’ve attended the practice sessions.

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

LGBT publications during the Gay Liberation Movement

A group of panelists will look at the grassroots LGBT periodicals that originated in Boston during the modern gay liberation era and evolved to become critical resources for LGBT communities all over the country from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 3.

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

African American Genealogy: Get on track to rediscover your story               

Curious about your African American family story but not sure where to start?

Join Genealogist Alice Kane from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 in learning how to begin discovering your story and what resources to use to research your African American ancestry.

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

‘Boston's Oldest Buildings and Where to Find Them’

The first book to survey Boston’s 50 oldest buildings, this work by the city archaeologist and historic preservationist is a great guide for history lovers, architectural enthusiasts and tourists.

In an approachable narrative which will appeal to non-architects and those new to historic preservation, Joseph M. Bagley tours 50 buildings that pre-date 1800 and illustrate Boston’s early history. Approaching its 400th anniversary, Boston continues to shift with near-constant development; still, it maintains its historic character.

Listen to this expert and insider about the city’s unique character, its historic areas and oldest buildings from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 3.

Register for Zoom at www.americanancestors.org.

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’ – 6:6 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 last two plays are now available:

Living Water by Melinda Lopez and Micah Rosegrant and Monstrat Viam by Patrick Gabridge

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 still available to stream as well.

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

Charlie Gibson's Queer Boston

Explore the Gibson House and early 20th century Boston through Charlie Gibson's eyes from 6 to 6:45 p.m. on Friday, June 4. The event will be repeated on Friday, June 11.

The story of the museum's founder is one of legacy and family history; of the fading grandeur of Victorian-era Boston; and of the role gay men, such as Charlie, had in the historic preservation movement.

This unique specialty house tour will take place onsite at the Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St.

Visit https://www.thegibsonhouse.org for more information and registration ($15).

‘contour and counterpoint: Reich & Shostakovich’

The Chameleon Arts Ensemble will present “contour and counterpoint” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. The concert will be available to stream on-demand through Saturday, June 12.

Patterns, phases, motifs and monograms come together in Chameleon’s audacious season finale. Reich transforms the function of rhythm, Nørgård channels the king of counterpoint and Shostakovich brings power, intensity and dazzling technique to a landmark of the string quartet repertoire.

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).

BSRA                                                                                                                        

The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. The short business meeting will be followed by an entertainment program. Clark Frazier will present Tramways and Interurban Railways of Japan, China, and Hong Kong.

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

‘Braking for Beauty’ solo exhibition

Braking for Beauty, a solo exhibition by Mark Shasha, will be on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 163 Newbury St. from Saturday, June 5 through Saturday, June 26.

Based on the popular "brake" series of bumper stickers, the show's title signals the artist's penchant for stopping spontaneously during his travels to capture the beauty of his surroundings.

Contact Info: https://www.guildofbostonartists.org

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.

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.

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 through Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Accepts: SNAP, HIP & Nutrition Vouchers

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.

Homework Assistance Program (HAP) at BPL

The Boston Public Library offers free online homework help, mentorship, and social time provided by trained, high-achieving high school students. The Homework Assistance Program (HAP) is available daily from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. through Thursday, June 3. The program is open on a drop-in basis to students in grades K–8, no registration is required.

Homework Help can be accessed through Zoom links on: www.bpl.org/homework.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information.

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.

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.

Teen Book Discussion Group: ‘The Poet X’                     

The Teen Book Discussion Group will meet from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 10 to discuss the free verse novel The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

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

Reading the Rainbow                                                                     

Reading the Rainbow – a Boston Public Library online-exclusive book group geared towards members of the LGBTQ+ community – will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, June 11.

Join the group for a lively discussion of Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi. 

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

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.

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.

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.