Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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These people and their dogs are prepared for a walk in the rain through Copley Square.

Mark Shasha: ‘Breaking for Beauty’

Braking for Beauty, an exhibition featuring the work of Guild artist Mark Shasha, will be on view from Saturday, June 5 through Saturday, June 26 at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St. The show's 30 painted landscapes depict fleeting experiences that leave strong impressions: beauty that demands attention.

The Guild will be hosting a reception to celebrate the opening of Shasha's solo exhibition from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. Join them for an afternoon of art and conversation with the artist. Refreshments will be served. Unvaccinated guests are advised to wear masks when visiting the gallery. RSVPs required.

In conjunction with this exhibition, The Guild will be sharing an artist demonstration filmed in Mark Shasha's studio in Swampscott on Wednesday, June 16. Get a glimpse into the artist's process and see one of his glittering canvases come to life. Video will be available on their website: https://www.guildofbostonartists.org along with other information.

Planning for long-term care                                                                       

Join the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center and Financial Planner Bradley Baskir

for this financial empowerment webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8 to learn about Long-Term Care Insurance planning for your retirement. 

How does long-term care affect people? Elders are living longer. As people age, they need more help with everyday activities, and if they develop conditions that require supervision, a lack of access to this help affects their quality of life. Learn what this can mean as you prepare for or continue in retirement.

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

Crossword Puzzle Lunch Club                                                        

Join Boston Public Library for a lunchtime crossword puzzle from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 23.

Together the group will collectively solve a crossword puzzle that focuses on different news- or media- related topics. Put your crossword puzzle skills to the test while also learning something new along the way.

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

Baxter Lecture with Paula Peters: ‘The True Cost of Colonization’                 

Boston Public Library President David Leonard will welcome scholar and a politically, socially and culturally active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Paula Peters to discuss the romanticized myth of the Pilgrims' arrival and the true cost of colonization from the perspective of the indigenous people from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9.

By exploring the history of contact prior to 1620, people can begin to understand the decisions that were made upon their arrival off the coast of Cape Cod and the transition from the village of Patuxet to the Plimoth colony.

Hosted by the GBH Forum Network, visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives

Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive manhunt that terrorized a Black community in Mission Hill with detention, public strip-searches and the arrest of two innocent men.

As some lawmakers demanded the death penalty, the media perpetuated this false story. The Stuart case exemplifies how the narrative of white supremacy continues to lead to the dehumanization and devaluation of Black lives. Widespread acceptance of white lies over Black lives persists today.

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, “Confronting Racial Injustice” is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

Register to join the online conversation from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 at http://masshist.org.

Diversity Out Loud

The French Cultural Center will highlight three francophone artists from Québec, Wallonia-Brussels and France for a panel discussion also including two representatives of associations from Boston and New York, all of them part of the LGBTQIA+ community from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 10.

These Francophone LBGTQIA+ artists will discuss awareness, inclusion, understanding and respect on the art scene. They will also talk about their career and journey as artists and as part of the LGBTQIA+ community in three different countries. LGBTQ+ historian and author, Sarah Prager will provide historical context for this conversation and moderate the panel discussion, which will be followed by a live Q&A. Free event in English.

Visit https://frenchculturalcenter.org/events/diversity-out-loud for more information and registration.

Tai Chi for Wellness                                                                                    

Join the Boston Public Library and Eddie Watkins from 2 to 3 p.m. on June 10 for an online introduction to Tai Chi, an ancient exercise rooted in China, which consists of postures that are gentle and flowing. Movements are slow and repetitive and are coupled with a focus on the breath.

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

Researching the Deep South

Do you have ancestors from the Deep South?

In this webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 10, Genealogist Ann Lawthers will address key challenges in researching families from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and offer tips and solutions for getting ahead.

Topics include migration and settlement patterns, what to do when vital records are not available, how to leverage land, probate, and tax records, and finding confederate records. The session concludes with tips for conducting African American research in the region.

Register at https://hubs.americanancestors.org/deep-south.

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.

Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Anniversary Celebration

A lively evening celebrating history and community, and marking the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center’s first decade at New England Historic Genealogical Society will be held online on Thursday, June 10.

The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the Program will start at 6 p.m. – Celebrating a decade of collaboration and achievement at New England Historic Genealogical Society; honoring Margot Stern Strom, founder of Facing History and Ourselves, in conversation with Adam Strom, founder of Re-Imagining Migration; and presenting the Volunteer Leadership Award to Herbert Selesnick.

Visit https://my.americanancestors.org/1550/1629 for more information and Zoom registration.

Build your perfect beach bag

Join Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St. from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 10 to customize and assemble the perfect summer beach bags.

After creating a custom tie-dye tote using one of their all-natural fabric Trident Totes, people will be able to visit their special "Beach-Read Book Fair" where they can choose from a variety of favorite beach reads. Finish the prep with a super fun coloring book and some colored pencils.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/build-your-perfect-beach-bag-trident-booksellers-tickets-154738397713 for more information and registration ($20, includes all supplies and one beach book).

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. on 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.

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 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).

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host its weekly Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 11.

The event will feature seven rounds of general knowledge trivia with a few wildcards along the way (follow on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the evening's categories) and excellent prizes for the top three teams. 

Visit www.tridentbookscafe.com/event/trivia-night-trident for more information.

‘contour and counterpoint: Reich & Shostakovich’

The latest Chameleon Arts Ensemble concert “contour and counterpoint” 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).

Ciné-Stroll Scavenger Hunt in French

Calling all cinéphiles! Do you know that Boston has been the backdrop of many famous films? Join the French Cultural Center’s in-house movie expert Barbara Bouquegneau in a movie scene scavenger hunt around Boston from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 12 (Rain date: Sunday, June 13).

The group will meet in front of the State House on Beacon Street at 10 a.m. The walk will begin at 10:15 a.m. Barbara will share with you her incredible cinema knowledge and she will be pleased to answer all your questions – all done in French.  

The mask mandate that was lifted for outdoors does not apply to events. Everyone is required to use a face covering.

Visit https://frenchculturalcenter.org/events/cine-stroll-in-french-with-barbara for more information and registration (Members - $12 | Non-members - $18).

Community Read Book Group for Adults: ‘The Cooking Gene’

The Community Read Book Group for Adults will meet from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 for a moderated discussion of The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty. 

The winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for culinary writing, The Cooking Gene explores the influence of enslaved African people and their descendants on the traditional cooking of the American South. 

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

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: Living Water by Melinda Lopez and Micah Rosegrant and Monstrat Viam by Patrick Gabridge joins 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 – and are all available to stream.

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

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.

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.

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 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Saturday serving breakfast and lunch along with essential care packages.

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.