Saturday, June 06, 2009

SUN 6/7: Dragon Boats, Aqua-Fest, Art, Rock

Sunday cheapness to keep your mind off m-o-n-d-a-y...


SUN 6/7

9am to 5pm
Annual Dragon Boat Festival
along Charles River, Memorial Dr, Cambridge

The first Dragon Boat festival in America supposedly took place in Boston over 25 years ago, and it's said to be the largest Asian American celebration in New England. I like to think of it as Head of the Charles with cooler looking boats...

More than two millennia ago Chinese poet Qu Yuan drowned himself in a river, and the villagers raced out in boats to save him. No such luck... Dragon boat races evolved as a tribute to Qu Yuan -- and there was an opening in the ancient festival calendar...

Music, food, and entertainment will line the Cambridge side of the river. It's fun like Head of the Charles, but with better looking boats...

SUN 6/7

11am to 4pm
Oceans Day Festival
at New England Aquarium Plaza, 1 Central Wharf, Boston

There's family-friendly fun will be open to all in front of the aquarium, whether or not you helped to clean local beaches on Saturday. It's nice to see some green fun out there -- like "interactive and educational games and activities, eco-conscious give-a-ways, and craft projects lead by the Aquarium's educational staff and mascots."

You can't go into the aquarium for free, but it might be a nice day to walk by the harbor.

SUN 6/7

Noon to 6pm
The Distillery & King Terminal Open Studios
at 516 East Second St, Boston (Southie)

When I walked Southie during November's open studios, all of the interesting art was found in The Distillery. There's a wide array of media, and the artists were cool people.

There's a few more artist studios just a couple blocks away at King Terminal, so they're opening their doors as well.

SUN 6/7

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head (11pm), The Postelles (10pm), MeandJoanCollins (9pm)
at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge (Central Sq)

Is it bad that my least favorite band of the night is the 'headliner'? It doesn't hurt that Natalie Portman's Shaved Head has a clever name, but they're garnering buzz for a good-time electro-pop party that doesn't excite me as much as I expected.

MeandJoanCollins have got it going on. I recently said they might be the best band from Boston right now. It's smart, fresh, challenging rock that will love now or sometime soon. Listen to them whenever you have a chance! Call me crazy, but I love over-the-top hooky guitar-pop like The Postelles. You can tell that a guitarist from The Strokes produced their stuff.

SUN 6/7

The Old Ceremony (11pm), Leo Blais (10pm), Monique Ortiz (9pm)
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$8 advance / $9 day of show / 18+

The Old Ceremony released a gem of a folky/funky/jazzy pop-rock album a few years ago with some splendidly catchy songs; the new CD doesn't jump out at me in the same way, and it seems more serious in tone. Still quite good, but hope they play a bunch from "Our One Mistake".

A real treat will be the preview of Monique Ortiz's new project, which supposedly goes louder, heavier, "rawkier" than her previous Sandman-esque noir bluesiness. Everytime she's on stage, her intensity is palpable and you want to pay attention to what's playing.

Leo Blais seems like a very creative guy who makes makes music with a strong aesthetic sense that includes handmaking the artwork on his CD's and decorating his apartment with his lyrics. He's in the process of releasing 40 songs in 5-song spurts. Cool stuff.

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