Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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These are among the many flowers people can enjoy in Copley Square.

March For Babies: A Mother of a Movement™

Come together to give hope and take action for all families throughout their pregnancy journey by raising critical funds for March of Dimes. March For Babies will be all over Massachusetts on Saturday, June 12.

At 10 a.m., people can view the opening ceremony on their website and see the interactive photo mosaic take shape – be sure to share your photos. In the fall, they will come together for an in-person lawn party (following CDC guidelines).

Register and donate to this virtual event online at marchforbabies.org.

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).

‘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).

Children's Hospital Walk for Kids

Boston Children’s Hospital will hold its annual Walk for Kids on Sunday, June 13.

People can walk anytime that works best for them in any way that feels most comfortable to them and their family – i.e., a family walk through the neighborhood or around the house, a backyard obstacle course, a dance party in the living room and share photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram with #WalkforBCH @WalkforBostonChildrens.

Register and/or donate online at childrenshospital.org.

​ Six-Week ukulele workshop                                                                      

Children, ages 7-12, are invited to join a free six-week ukulele workshop run by Anne Ku. Zoom sessions will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. on Mondays from June 14 through July 26 (except July 5). Ukuleles and tuners can be picked up at the Central branch of the Boston Public Library.

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

Fact or fiction? Tips and tricks for evaluating digital information

Have you ever come across an unfamiliar website and wondered if it was credible? Or seen information on social media and were unsure if it was true or not?

Lateral Reading is a method used by professional fact checkers to verify information. Lateral Reading skills can help people evaluate posts on social media, news and blog articles, and even websites.

Learn about this method, and then put this knowledge and new skills to the test with practice examples during an interactive workshop from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, June 14.

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

The Education Trap: Schools and the remaking of inequality

For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. 

The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the 20th century, the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences - both intended and unintended - for many workers.

Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.

Visit http://masshist.org to register for this online conversation with Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College and Michael Glass, Boston College from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 14.

‘Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation’

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five presidents - a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation and ultimately changed the world.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were friends and rivals, they led in securing independence, hammering out the United States Constitution and building a working republic. But even as Virginians advanced Enlightenment values such as liberty, equality and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died.

Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal as well as the political lives of the men of the Virginia Dynasty, Lynne Cheney will offer a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15.

Visit http://masshist.org to register for this online conversation.

‘Men Out of Time’

Time weighed heavily on Boston “Brahmins” Ogden Codman, Jr. (1863-1951) and Charles Hammond Gibson, Jr. (1874-1954). Each represented the last of the male line within his family and both felt somehow displaced in the twentieth century.

Join Tripp Evans, professor of American art and architecture, Wheaton College, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 to explore how these men turned back the hands of time – both by preserving their childhood homes for posterity and, as recent discoveries demonstrate, through Codman's early romantic interest in Gibson.

Register at www.thegibsonhouse.org/events.html ($10 - members | $12 - nonmembers).

Gabrielle Glaser: 'American Baby'

As closed records of adoption are being legally challenged in states nationwide and open adoption is the rule today, journalist Gabrielle Glaser looks back to a dark time in America’s history. Her acclaimed book American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption reveals the lucrative and exploitative adoption industry during the 1960s Baby Boom when agencies removed children from their birth mothers, placed them with hopeful families and then firmly closed the door between them. Acting “in the best interests of all,” they separated families, including Margaret Erle’s.

Hear her story of love, loss and the search for identity – a tale that she and her son born in 1961 share with millions of Americans – and Glaser’s account of this dark time in U.S. history.

The American Inspiration author series by American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical (NEHGS) will present Glaser’s illustrated presentation followed by a discussion with broadcast journalist Peter O’Dowd from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 on Zoom.

Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CLUUf61_Qo6lwrs5RJf_4A.

‘In the Heights’ Virtual Book Launch Party

In the new book In the Heights: Finding Home, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, and Jeremy McCarter tell the story of the show’s humble beginnings, from rehearsals in a bookstore basement to the Broadway smash (and soon-to-be feature film) that created an unbreakable community and a new kind of family for everyone involved.

Join Miranda, Hudes and McCarter for a special In the Heights virtual book launch from 8 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 on Zoom. Sure to be an unforgettable conversation on creativity, community and finding home, this is a chance to hear directly from the creative team behind the timeless story of how Washington Heights can speak to the world.

Tickets include admission to this exclusive event, a hardcover copy of In the Heights: Finding Home ($40 retail price), as well as sales tax, shipping and handling (if applicable).

Go to www.eventbrite.com/e/in-the-heights-virtual-book-launch-party-tickets-154419305299 for more information and Zoom registration ($42.50 – $47.50).

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.

Mark Shasha: ‘Breaking for Beauty’

"Braking for Beauty," an exhibition featuring the work of Guild artist Mark Shasha, will be on view 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.

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.

Concerts in the Courtyard Series:  Jorge Arce featuring Roberto Silver

Join the Boston Public Library for an online performance by Jorge Arce and pianist Roberto Silver from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 17.

The repertoire will be embellished by the jazz improvisation spirit of the music combined with Afro-Caribbean conga drums in some of them.

This program will be broadcast to the BPL YouTube channel. Visit bpl.org/events for more information and the link to enjoy.

Living Room Conversations: Technology and Relationships                  

This is an age of wonder and amazement with technology. People can use technology to order groceries, navigate cities, keep up with breaking news, communicate with family members living far away, and in some cases remain connected with politicians and faith-based communities. So many of people are reachable and can respond immediately to beeping, buzzing and ringing of texts, emails and phone calls. But sometimes it can be difficult to find a balance between being connected to technology and being present in the physical surroundings. 

In this facilitated Living Room Conversation from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, the group will discuss technology’s impact on relationships.

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

Camerata's online spring series                                                      

As the days lengthen and hope augments, Camerata will offer a mini-series of online programs with good talk and wonderful music to help get across this next stretch as follows:

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 through Monday, June 20.

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).

Chameleon Arts Ensemble – ‘portraits and places'                              

From rolling hills to the night sky, composers find inspiration all around them.

Join the Chameleon Arts Ensemble for a special virtual family concert inspired by the majesty of the world. The program, titled “portraits and places” includes chamber music by Bartok, Haydn, Saint-Saens, John Luther Adams, Libby Larsen, David Ludwig, William Grant Still and Marcos Balter.

Chameleon’s resident teacher Hans Spencer will be the guide as people sing with the birds, buzz with mosquitos, visit mountains and mesas, and soar among the stars and constellations.

The concert is free and will be available to stream on-demand through Sunday, June 20 at https://chameleonarts.org (donations welcome).

Music for Food concert series                                                         

In this time of crisis, neighbors who experience food-insecurity are among the hardest hit. In lieu of their regular concerts, Music for Food is presenting online performances to support multiple food pantries.

A weekly series of videos will be released at noon on Fridays on MFF’s YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UCyL1hGegB4nbh71mB0tC_Lg). Each video features MFF Artists and friends from all over the world.

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.

There is a $10 charge that goes to the Arlington Street Church.

Email office@ascboston.org for Zoom access. All are welcome.

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’                          

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 six plays – On Paying Attention by David Valdes; Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus; Kill the Dogs, Knock Them Over! by Liana Asim; In Any Face by Miranda Austen ADEkoje; Living Water by Melinda Lopez and Micah Rosegrant; and Monstrat Viam by Patrick Gabridge –

are available to stream.

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

Swan Boats operating

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.

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

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.

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.

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host a weekly Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

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.

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.