Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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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).

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).

Watercolor painting                                     

Practice landscape painting skills at this free and fun watercolor painting workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, June 20, hosted by a local artist. Supplies will be provided by the instructor.

The event will be held at Boston Public Garden George Robert White Memorial (Corner of Arlington and Beacon Street). 

Visit www.boston.gov/calendar/june-2021-watercolor-painting-workshops-boston-public-garden for more information and registration.

Dax-Devlon Ross – ‘Letters to My White Male Friends’

Boston Public Library President David Leonard will talk with author Dax-Devlon Ross about Letters to My White Male Friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 21.

Visit pbl.org/events for more information, including a synopsis and Zoom registration.

Let’s Cheers Together: ‘Apéro spécial Fête de la musique’

Celebrate La Fête de la musique with the French Cultural Center from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. on Monday, June 21.

They will discuss favorite francophone artists, do a musical quiz and share some fun musical facts. Attendees will also learn how to prepare The Amélie cocktail (based on the character popularized by Audrey Tautou and later the main character of her own musical) and how to make a deviled eggs and cornichon tapenade appetizer from scratch.

L’Apéritif is a staple in daily French life. The rules are really simple: share a drink, eat some snacks and chat. It’s an interactive event; all are welcome to participate. The event is en français.

Visit https://frenchculturalcenter.org/events/lets-cheers-together-apero-special-fete-de-la-musique for more information and Zoom registration (Members: $5 | Non-members: $10).

Tea gardens paint & plant

Join Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St. from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22 to paint teacup planters and design and plant a mini tea herb garden that’s perfect for the windowsill.

Each ticket guarantees participants a planter to paint along with all of the painting supplies and access to an expert window-sill gardener and tea aficionado who will answer all questions while helping people pick out the perfect mixture of herbs for a delightful cuppa in a few weeks.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/tea-gardens-paint-plant-at-trident-booksellers-cafe-tickets-154274929467 for more information and registration ($20).

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group                                     

Geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s, the Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Central Library in Copley Square will meet online from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22.

The group will discuss Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.

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

Clean up your email inbox

In this webinar from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, registrants will learn about the many features in their email account; how to confidently filter, label, archive and delete email messages; how to automate email filing and create easy reminders to reply; how to clean up the inbox and automate keeping it tidy.

This class is based on Gmail; however, email concepts apply to all email services.

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

Jewish New England

The history of Jewish settlement in New England extends back hundreds of years and encompasses the entire length and breadth of the region. From Maine to Rhode Island, small towns to big cities, the 18th to the 21st centuries, Jewish communities have been an integral part of the fabric of New England life.

Join Historic New England at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 for a virtual panel on the diversity of the Jewish experiences in New England, featuring speakers from three of New England’s most important Jewish history sites: Maddie Beihl, roleplaying coordinator at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, N.H.; Lynne Krasker Schultz, director of public programming and community outreach at the Vilna Shul, Boston; and Rabbi Marc Mandel from the Touro Synagogue, Newport, R.I.

Each of these sites represents an important slice of Jewish life in a particular time and place, and also speak to the larger history and context of the Jewish community in New England.

Visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/11338/jewish-ne for more information and registration (Free; Donations encouraged).

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga

YogaHub will present an Older Adults’ Chair Yoga from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 - hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Older Adults’ Chair Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting on a chair or standing using a chair for support. Participants will learn calming postures and breathing techniques to open energy channels, release tension and alleviate pain.

This type of yoga is great to improve physical comfort, cultivate balance and move easily through daily activities.

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

The College of Arms in the 18th century

The early decades of the 18th century saw the College of Arms at its lowest point in its history, when its relevance and even its survival seemed to be in doubt. Very few grants of Arms were being made, heraldic regulation was increasingly ineffective, and the practices of its Officers were in decline. Appointments were sometimes made for the wrong reasons, so that officers might not be there for their heraldic or genealogical skills.

Could the century see a revival of the fortunes of this ancient institution? Could it find new venues for its activities, new areas of expertise and new sources of revenue? Could heraldry adapt to the changing fashions and aesthetics of the Enlightenment and Romanticism?

This talk presented by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 will seek to examine and answer these questions.

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

Animal care for teens                                                          

The Boston Public Library will host representatives from Gifford Cats and Last Hope K9 Rescue from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 to discuss how teens can get involved in volunteering or working with animals.

They will also discuss tips and tricks for helping family pets adjust to the fact that their humans are starting to go back to work and school after more than a year of staying at home. 

Plus, they promise plenty of cameos from kittens and dogs.

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

Family Book Group: ‘Lucky Broken Girl’                                                                       

The librarian-moderated Family Book Group will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 to discuss the June Community Read – Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar.

Ruth Behar won the Pura Belpre Author Award for Lucky Broken Girl, her debut children's novel, in which Jewish-Cuban Ruthie Mizrahi must cope with not only the day-to-day struggles of school in New York City in the '60s, but also a terrible car accident that leaves her in a full-body cast.

Go to bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Use & preserve herbs

Learn to keep the flavor of summer going all year long with herb pesto, chutney, dried and frozen herbs, and infused vinegars and oils.

This online program from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 for Boston Public Library’s Adult Summer Reading is part of Digging Deeper, Growing Strong: Gardening Workshops by the Trustees of Reservations.

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

Concerts in the Courtyard Series: Matthew Vera

Join the Boston Public Library for an online performance by violinist Matthew Vera from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 25.

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

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.

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 42 painted landscapes depict fleeting experiences that leave strong impressions: beauty that demands attention.

Visit www.guildofbostonartists.org for more information.

National Marine Art Exhibition: ‘Connected Land and Sea’

Coastal New England is the inspiration for Connected Land and Sea, recognizing the Copley Society of Art’s legacy in the region and reflecting the important intersections between the land and the sea.

Copley is honored to welcome the renowned marine artist Donald Demers as the jurist for the 2021 National Marine Art exhibition. With more than 450 submissions, Demers selections include a wide range of thematic interpretations from artists across the United States including Seattle, Venice, Santa Fe and Illinois.

The exhibition will be on view in the Upper Gallery at Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. through Sunday, July 18.

Website: https://copleysociety.org/exhibition/national-show-connected-land-sea

Sandy O'Connor - ‘A Tipping Point: An Artists Perspective on Climate’

A solo exhibition by Sandy O'Connor will be on view in the Back Bay Room at Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St. through Sunday, July 18.

The artwork comprises a series of eight watercolor landscapes titled, A Tipping Point: An Artist's Perspective on Climate Change on the Outer Cape.

Learn more at https://copleysociety.org/exhibition/sandy-oconnor-tipping-point.

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.

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.

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 meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. 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 BostonWarm programs need help         

common cathedral and the BostonWarm 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, granola bars and water.

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.