Friday, July 31, 2009

SAT 8/1: "Yard Sale", Rock, Rap, Beer & Chocolate


Well, this day didn't turn out the way I planned... Remember there's Shakespeare in the Common too!

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SAT 8/1

3pm to 7pm
Somerville Rock & Roll Yard Sale
at Union Sq Plaza, 90 Union Sq, Somerville
FREE

Feat: Cotton Candy (4pm?), The 'Mericans (5pm?), Somerville Speakout, The Blind King, Chrisy Gavin

The Yard Sale is back for the third year. What makes this different from other DIY fairs? It's the attitude, maaaan... It's going to be a fun vibe. It's free to walk around and listen to the tunes, but there's going to be all sorts of cool stuff for sale like t-shirts, records, handmade stuff -- everything very rock 'n roll.

Someone might even have one of Slash's old nipple rings!

Rain date: SUN 8/2

SAT 8/1

3pm to 6pm
Beer & Taza Chocolate Tasting
at Wine Gallery, 375 Boylston St, Brookline
FREE

Maybe "beer and chocolate" doesn't sound like the perfect match, but they've done it before with splendid results.

If you live nearby or going in that direction, you should stop because:
1) Free beer samples are better than nothing, and you might taste your new favorite.
2) Taza chocolate is awesome, and even sample bites will knock you out.
3) DrinkCraftBeer guys are good people who've chosen some interesting brews. Very cool guys who might just give you a second taste of a beer if you're not quite sure about buying a six-pack yet.

SAT 8/1

4pm
Annual Peace Hip-Hop Festival
at Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd, Dorchester (Uphams Corner)
FREE

Feat: Whodini, Breje, Blues, Moe Pope, M. Dot, Boston Tap Company, more

You don't get much more "old school" than Whodini! Gotta admire the organizers for keeping this annual concert going, even though they had to move indoors.

You can pick up tix on Saturday beginning at 10am. Tickets guarantee entrance up to 3:30pm. If not full, anyone can go in.

SAT 8/1

4:30pm
Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll 2009 Concert
at City Hall Plaza, Boston (Govt Center)
FREE

Feat: Passion Pit, Metric, Gaslight Anthem, Ra Ra Riot, The Bravery, The Airborne Toxic Event

Yes, this is really a free show! Metric must still be awesome in the daylight. Gaslight Anthem sounds really good. Ra Ra Riot get a big thumbs up. The Bravery have some good stuff. The Airborne Toxic Event might be surprisingly good... What better way to listen to Passion Pit than at a free concert?

SAT 8/1

8pm
Alasdair Roberts
at Lorem Ipsum Books, 157 Hampshire Street, Cambridge (Inman Sq)
$5 to $10 suggested donation / All ages

This singer-songwriter from Scotland plays some lovely folk, and I like the idea of concerts in unorthodox locations.

SAT 8/1

The Coffin Lids (Midnight), The Lyres (11pm), Muck & the Mires (10pm), Triple Thick (9pm)
at Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston (Fenway)
$10

An orgasmic explosion of Boston garage-rock. The Lyres are a crapshoot, but they're a classic. On the plus side, Muck & the Mires are consistently awesome. Coffin Lids and Triple Thick will start you off in a good mood and have you leaving the club with a big, boozy smile.

SAT 8/1

9:30pm
Wheat, Bon Savants, The XYZ Affair
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$10 / 21+

Wheat isn't the same band that I fell in love with about 7 or 8 years ago, but they still make tasty, inimitable modern-pop. Bon Savants and The XYZ Affair will warm up your ears pretty well/

DJ sets by MR. F

FRI 7/31: Laughs & Music


Okay. Non-malicious forces working against me. I'll update this post in a few minutes. Without further ado...

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FRI 7/31

7pm
The Gas: "Quiet Desperation Special"
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$5 / 18+

Feat: Robby Roadsteamer, Mehran, Chris Coxen, Tom Dustin, Erin Judge, Shaun Bedgood, Ken Reid, Joe Madaus

Someone pointed me to the "Quiet Desperation" videos about 2 months ago. YouTube is strewn with Robby Roadsteamer video clips, but there's a little bit more story arc than usual. It's a thin string of a story, and it mainly skewers the local comedy/music scene. There's a lot of inside jokes, but there are a bunch of simply ludicrous situations and funny lines. If this stuff was on "Adult Swim", a million stoners & insomniacs would love it!

All of the episodes (7, I think) will be shown interspersed with live performances by many of the "Q.D." cast.

FRI 7/31 to SUN 8/2 (thru 8/16)

8pm (SUN: 7pm)
"The Comedy Of Errors"
at Parkman Bandstand, about 165 Tremont St, Boston (Boston Common)
FREE

I'd hate to think about summer without Shakespeare in the Common. Even though I don't make it every year, there's a free big-time production going on 14 years thanks to the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which has returned to its independent roots.

Shaking up Shakespeare is rather common. One of the typical twists is to set it in a new location and era; by looking at the flyer, it's obviously Miami.

The text is full-on Shakespeare, but this farce about identical twins separated at birth takes place in South Beach of the '30s.

The production runs through SUN 8/16 with shows from Tuesdays to Sundays -- 8pm on most nights, 7pm on Sundays. There are additional performances on SUN 8/9 (1pm) and WED 8/12 (12:30pm).

FRI 7/31

I Have Ears (Midnight), Jesus & the Argonauts (11pm), St. Helena (10pm), Gaslight Revival (9pm)
at Cantab Underground / Club Bohemia, 738 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$8 / 21+

Rock/Pop/Folksy mix.

FRI 7/31

9:30pm
Union Square Round Table: "The Briny Deep"
at PA's Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave, Somerville (Union Sq)
$10 -- 21+ / $13 -- 18+

Theme: "How The Other Half Lives"

This show may or may not be about millionaires. This show may or may not involve appearances by actual millionaires talking about their butlers.
Feat: Ben Dryer, Chris Braiotta, Nick Branigan, Marian Didio, Keira Horowitz, Caitlin Roy, TD Sidell, Erik P. Kraft, Gretchen Gavett, Katie McCarthy

Musical guest: Dr. and Mrs. Van Der Trampp

FRI 7/31

Lovewhip (Midnight), Miss Fairchild (11pm), Apple Betty (10pm), You Scream I Scream (9pm)
at Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston (Fenway)
$10 / 21+

Funk-soul-punk-rock dance party.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

THUR 7/30: Shakespeare, Latin, Booze, Roots, Rock

Grinding Tapes Showcase, at Club Passim
Asheville, NC is well-represented tonight. Elijah Wyman is at Club Passim, and Mad Tea Party is up Mass Ave at Lizrd Lounge. Funny, huh? No...? Okay, maybe funny wasn't the right word. Each band is playing showcases hosted by independent music labels too...

I'll list the outdoor evening events, since the rain should pass today.

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THUR 7/30 (thru THUR 8/6)

6:45pm
"The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)"
at Christian Herter Park, 1175A Soldiers Field Road, Brighton (near Charles River, across from WBZ)
FREE

The Orfeo Group presents three guys doing a wacky mashup of all 37 Shakespeare plays in slightly more than 90 minutes. This is a good warm-up to Shakespeare on the Common that starts tomorrow.

It's happening where the Publick Theatre has performed Shakespeare on a yearly basis, but they're "on hiatus." Besides the Bard being twisted for free, there are grills at the park for anyone to use before the show.

You can pay $15 or go for free on Thursdays. If you have valid student ID, you can get in for free on Fridays too.

THUR 7/30

7pm
Victor Mendoza
at O'Day Park, 85 W Newton St, Boston (South End)
FREE

Maybe it'll be a good night to hang out and listen to Latin jazz led by vibraphonist (and Berklee faculty) Victor Mendoza.

This is the last concert in the Tito Puente Latin Music Series.

THUR 7/30

7pm
"Cachaca Tasting & Education"
at Grand, 374 Somerville Ave, Somerville (Union Sq)
$10

When I last checked, it seemed there was space in this cachaca session. Besides learning more than you'll ever this Brazilian, sugarcane spirit, you taste a few different versions (like Leblon's) and hopefully learn how to make an expert caipirinha.

THUR 7/30

8pm
Elijah Wyman, Mr. Sister, The Points North
at Club Passim, 47 Palmer St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
$10

Someone wrote me once and complained that I didn't cover events at Club Passim. Well, that's because they rarely have shows for $10 or under -- and their "open mic" night just isn't as earth-shattering when I'm pretty sure Tracy Chapman isn't going to show up.

In association with Grinding Tapes, three talented acts are performing at the historic folk club where every great folk musician of the last 50 years has appeared from Bob Dylan and Joan Baez through the present.

If every element of Mr. Sister were a solar system, the instruments and songs would be planets revolving around the burning, radiant voice of Amelia Emmet. When she starts singing with that old-timey bend like a jazz trumpet, you can't help but pay attention which is rewarded by the potent satellites of songs and music.

There's timeless quality to the delicate instrumentation and male-female vocal of The Points North. It'll be disappointing if Elijah Wyman doesn't play his autoharp; it's so rare to see a singer-songwriter get their big, wide on...

THUR 7/30

9:30pm
Mad Tea Party, Arty Hill, Preacher Jack
at Lizard Lounge/Cambridge Common, 1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge (between Harvard Sq & Porter Sq)
$10 / 21+

My favorite little basement club is getting honky-tonky tonight. Nine Mile Records (with Cow Island Music) have put together another night of their "Twisted Roots" series, and it's going to be hopping.

It's a charming sight to see the Mad Tea Party churn out their quirky, good-timey, rock 'n rolly duo banging away on guitar and ukulele that's imbued with a fun, clever Southern slant. Arty Hill hails back to clean, crisp country-western sound; ol' Hank Williams is probably rabble-rousing in the ether and listening approvingly to Arty and company.

We're lucky to have Preacher Jack still testifying the old-school, gospel-fueled rockabilly/boogie-woogie like he's been doing since the 50's. He's definitely a special guy with his long hair and white beard, and I think he's fascinating to listen to.

THUR 7/30

9:30pm
Clues, Arletta, Mikey French Fries
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$10 / 18+

I don't know why this gig didn't jump out at me, but this is definitely the hip music choice of the night. Clues is part of Montreal's indie scene with one guy from Unicorns and one of the early members of Arcade Fire. Sounds pretty darn good from the little I've heard.

There's musical goodness all the way through thanks to Arletta and Mikey French Fries.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Advance Notice 7/31: Bike Posses into Boston

Menino on bicycle (This photo amuses me...)

6:45am
Bike Friday
from Various Points in the Area to City Hall Plaza, Boston
FREE

If you are hesitant about riding your bicycle to work, this might be a good time to try it out. It won't get much safer than guided convoys escorted by Boston Police. If not on Fridaty, there's another trek in August.

Look for the closest point for you:

- Newton, Brookline, Watertown
- Lexington, Arlington, Somerville, Cambridge
- Dorchester
- West Roxbury, Roslindale
- Brighton, Allston
- Jamaica Plain

There's some free breakfast at the end...

Maybe you can easily share bicycles in the future!

WED 7/29: Mp3's, Stargazing, Rock, Rockabilly

Sleepy LaBeef
The posts might be briefer today and tomorrow, so I can get a good jump on the weekend.

For the record, I didn't make it to Great Scott for 'Twang & Awe' last night, so my 'cool factor' took another hit. Dammit.

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WED 7/29

8pm
Puma MP3 Beatdown: Championship
at Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston (South Boston/Waterfront)
FREE / 18+

This was supposed to happen in May at Puma City in the Volvo Ocean Racing Village, but I'm pretty sure it's at the ICA tonight. Various teams consisting of hipness purveyors (e.g. Weekly Dig, Phoenix, Lab Boston, Bladerunners, Karmaloop, etc.) are going head-to-head in short rounds of mp3-DJ battles. Just like "Highlander", there can only be one left standing.

Update: Yes, the open bar starts at 8pm until it's empty (may last about 45 minutes). The earlier you show up, the better your chances are to get in -- they may run out of space. As DJ Mistaker told me, "If you enjoy drinking and yelling you will find yourself in good company."

No one replied to my (albeit late) inquiries, but I assume it's not outside. It's not the usual free night at ICA, so they'll probably have some contingency plan. There was a rumor of an "open bar" at the beginning; even if the Beatdown doesn't begin until 9pm, you may get a free drink or two...

WED 7/29

8:30pm to 9:30pm
Astronomy Open Night
at Coit Observatory, 725 Comm Ave, Boston (BU campus)
FREE

If it's clear tonight, you could stand on the roof of a BU building and look at the stars. When I went to my high school's observatory, it seemed like it was always cold. (Maybe I didn't show up when the weather was nice...) Maybe it'll be better than your sweltering apartment?

Astronomy Open Night at the Observatory is a chance for people to come observe the night sky through telescopes as well as binoculars and to see things they might not otherwise get to see, all while learning some astronomy.

To find out if the Open Night will be held, call 617-353-2630 no earlier than two hours before the scheduled starting time.

Take one of the elevators to the 5th floor; the stairwell to the Observatory is located next to room 520. There is no handicap accessibility.
This happens most Wednesdays especially when school is in session. It's tentatively scheduled through WED 8/26.

WED 7/29

9:30pm
So Many Dynamos, Cast Spells, Pretty & Nice, Tired Old Bones
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$10 / 18+

So Many Dynamos is a good name for this frenetic, buzzing, synth-laden rock band. Cast Spells has a more relaxed approach which provides the more interesting vocals sufficient space to shine. I whole heartedly recommend listening to Pretty & Nice [non-MySpace music player] who harken back to the time when punk and new wave were colliding into a bubbly powerpop rush.

WED 7/29

9:30pm
Sleepy LaBeef
at Johnny D's, 17 Holland St, Somerville (Davis Sq)
$10 / 21+

It was Sleepy's 74th birthday last week, because I saw it on the NY Times last week. Mister LaBeef doesn't gig around town as often as before, so who knows when he doesn't feel like it anymore.

Born in Arkansas, Sleepy moved to Texas in his teens and has been on the rockabilly/country scene since the late-50s as a contemporary of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, George Jones, and others. His deep bellow doesn't scrape the bottom like Johnny Cash, but big and round like bouncy, red rockabilly ball.

WED 7/29

The Wild Sea (10pm), Tom Glynn & Dave Rizzuti (7pm)
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)
FREE

This is one of those WTF musical moments that happens in Cambridge. Ruth Peterson of The Wild Sea has been at the forefront of several bands (amusia, Ruth) for good reason -- she has the voice of the voice of an angel. She and her cohorts (whose core remains the same) flirted with major-label success before she developed cancer, but it doesn't really matter.

Someone like Ruth rarely gets attention in the modern era, because she's simply too good -- you don't want to stop listening! The music is delightful, but slow song... fast... medium... It doesn't matter -- you're waiting for her to start singing. I've said too much when you could've been listening...

Every set of music is pretty darn good at Toad, so you could get there early to hear singer-songwriter-keyboardist Tom Glynn who'll play with his guitarist, Dave Rizzuti.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't Count Me Out...

I'm so very close to getting my posts and Google Calendar ahead of the current date.

Thanks for your patience.

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 27, 2009

TUES 7/28: Latin, Folk, Rock


Not a bad variety for a Tuesday night. Sadly I missed out on all of the cheap science/food fun last night as I helped my softball team lose our play-off game... We'll get 'em next season!

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TUES 7/28

6pm
TenTumbao
at Elma Lewis Playhouse, 143 Seaver St, Dorchester (Franklin Park)
FREE

Have you had enough free salsa? The kind you dance to...? As usual, it's difficult to stylistically pin down many of the Latin-Jazz/Afro-Caribbean bands that play around town. In truth there's no need to, because it all sounds tremendously good. This is the kind of music that makes you want to dance on a hot, humid night. Or you could just sway on the lawn with some picnic goodies...

With the abundance of music students in the area, we probably have more horn-players per capita than most cities around the country. And that's one of the reasons to have caliente bands with sweet horn sections.

There used to be a decent map and directions on the Franklin Park website, but apparently it was lost in the redesign. The address above is for the best entrance to use by car (the #16 bus stops relatively nearby). Look for the crowd, but it'll be between White Stadium and the rear entrance of the Zoo.

There are a few more Tuesday night events in this series through 8/18.

TUES 7/28

9:30pm
"Down From The Ridge"
at Lizard Lounge/Cambridge Common, 1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge (between Harvard Sq & Porter Sq)
$10 / 21+

Scheduled: Tom Bianchi, Anthony DaCosta, Raina Rose, Trevor & Pickles, Danielle Miraglia, Ryan Fitzsimmons

On the NY side of the Berkshires, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival took place over the weekend. Since most the performers didn't list this gig, I've extrapolated that it will be a laid-back night of solo performances and impromptu group sings among some very talented folkies.

You can never have enough song even after four days in the woods...

TUES 7/28

9:30pm
Trucker Mouth, Kingsley Flood, Filligar, The Rationales
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$9 / 18+

When one of the top-notch Boston music blogs like Ryan's Smashing Life puts a show together, it's near impossible to hear a bad band. Just go, dig the bands, and soak in the new sounds.

It's pretty clear that "A Night of Twang & Awe" is heavy on the Alt-Country sound, but that term covers a wide spectrum just like Americana. It still use them as reference, but 'twang' gives as much description. (Even though I overused it recently -- and maybe again now.)

Trucker Mouth makes big, loud, crunchy Southern-rock that will probably want to make you throw the goat with one hand while your other is thumb-hooked on a big belt buckle.

There was a spark in Kingsley Flood's first demos, and they've more than delivered the goods since that first listen. This band resides in the 'Americana' neighborhood of my mind. They definitely got a rock engine, but the chassis has got some rootsy touches with a slightly sepia-tinted paint job -- but you can't forget they haul down the road.

Filligar doesn't really fit under 'twang' so much, but there's a little room for awe. There's something very appealing about their energetic, good-natured indie-pop. Throw in the fact that they're three brothers (who all attend Dartmouth) and a family friend who've been playing together since they were kids. Imagine if teen-idols could rock out and it wouldn't annoy you.

The Rationales bring a superb earthy popness to Alt-Country vibe. They remind me of Wilco when they're not screwing around and being avant/experimental.

MON 7/27: Science & Food

For some reason, there are multiple science events and a couple food-related events. One option tonight even combines food and science. Descisions, decisions... There should be one that appeals to you more than others.

There may still be a chance for food and drink with Stuff magazine...

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MON 7/27

7pm to 10pm
Boston Skeptics in the Pub: "Race to the Moon" w/ Jonathan McDowell
at Tommy Doyle's (upstairs), 96 Winthrop St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
FREE

Let's celebrate the 40th anniversary of men on the Moon, so we don't have to wait for the 50th anniversary. I don't remember much hoopla 10 years ago, but Earthlings are much closer to embark on further space exploration.

Dr. Jonathan McDowell (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) is going to revisit the space race but the US and USSR. We don't hear much about the Russian mission to the Moon since they never landed there, but the story is probably fascinating.

You'll be sure to hear some thoughts about our future destination: the Moon again or to Mars...

MON 7/27

7pm
Guacamole & Salsa Throwdown
at PA's Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave, Somerville (Union Sq)
$3 / 18+

Oh, guacamole, you luscious avocado dip! Oh, salsa, you zingy blend of veg! How tasty you both are! On chips or just about anything bready and/or meaty, you make eating so much more enjoyable.

In the tradition of early June's "Deviled Egg-Off", three winners will be chosen in the categories of salsa (traditional & unconventional) and guacamole. The good news is that you can taste them on freshly made chips in one hand and a cold beverage in the other. Mexican beers (Negra Modelo, Corona, Pacifico Clara) are $3, and don't hesitate to order a margarita.

You can vote in the "people's choice" category, and I've heard Mayor "Call me, Joe" Curtatone will be a guest judge. Smack a pi├▒ata, grab some Corona shwag, eat, drink, and be alegre.

Proceeds will benefit the Walnut Street Center who provide assistance to those with developmental disabilities. Their budget took a hit with the State's recent cutbacks.

[Facebook page]

MON 7/27

7pm
Cafe Sci: "Taste & Emotion"
at People's Republik, 876 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
FREE / 21+

Every now and then, the folks at WGBH have an event that corresponds to the latest episode of Nova scienceNOW.

The current episode has a segment on taste and why people like particular flavors. Prof. Don Katz (neuroscience, Brandeis) researches the connection between the tongue and brain. You might understand why you like some foods and hate others. There's apparently more to your aversion to that particular booze you can't stomach after one bad episode. It may even be possible to change your taste for funky foods and drinks!

Cafe Sci makes a point of avoiding the usage of technical terms with which the average person may not be familiar. It's also a freewheeling forum for anyone to ask questions, and there's a lot of directions for the discussion to go.

When I went, there was a generous amount of free (flavorful) appetizers to be had.

MON 7/27

8pm
NerdNite: "Naughty Bits & Advertising" w/ I Have Ears
at Middlesex Lounge, 315 Mass Ave, Cambridge (near Central Sq)
FREE

After a few years of congregating in JP, Nerd Nite is heading north of the Charles for a night.

The first talk is charmingly titled, "What’s up with my down there? A quickie on women’s health." Sarah Kleinman is a nurse (specializing in gynecology and childbirth) and writer who may have some enlightening things to say about the female anatomy.

Advertising expert Lisa Haverty is going to talk about the effect of Super Bowl commercials on your mind in "Why Can’t I Remember the Name of That Ad?" If you're a hetero male, you're going to loads of new info.

If a band covers a Beatles song from the "White Album", they're already halfway onto my good side. Maybe I Have Ears will play "I'm So Tired" tonight; they do a good job. All the stuff I've heard sounds like they're thinking about the rock; that may not qualify as nerdy, but they'll perform after the talks.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

7/27: Get into a Stuff Block Party?

I figured it a few days ago when I entered the Will Dailey contest then saw this Stuff invite. An email or web registration page won't suffice to get something free anymore.

You have to embarrass yourself with a silly twitter or write something like "I'M HOT" on a Facebook wall. I wish I could tell you more details about this "Hot 100" block party, but I'm just not cool enough...

(Phew! Maybe I'm feuding with the new version of Stuff[at]Night?)

Yes, I might enjoy free drinks from Stuff again, but never by writing something stupid on your wall! (...again.)

Give it a shot yourself, and you might get an invite. As of Sunday, I didn't get an email letting me know either way...

SUN 7/26: Sunday Night Off-Topic Video

If Prof. Henry Louis Gates will break into his own home, is anyone safe from black intellectuals...?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sneak Peek: SUN 7/26


Hey, folks. I simply loathe myself when I decide to have fun on Friday night, sleep in, then decide to have more fun on Saturday... I will get my act together this week -- maybe even this weekend. You’ll see! Here are some quick tips.

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SUN 7/26

4pm
Paul Muldoon, Poetry Reading
at East Lawn, Longfellow National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St, Cambridge (near Harvard Sq)
FREE

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and New Yorker poetry editor will probably be one of the most notable poetry readings in town this year.

And the Irishman appeared on The Colbert Report last month.

SUN 7/26

6pm
Boston Landmarks Orchestra, "The Story of Frederick Law Olmsted"
at Great Lawn, about 360 Jamaica Way, Jamaica Plain (Jamaica Pond)
FREE

Frederick Law Olmsted gave Boston its Emerald Necklace as well as other green spaces around town and national spots like Central Park, etc. Besides a little Haydn & Tchaikovsky, you’ll hear the world premiere of Thomas Oboe Lee's "The Story of Frederick Law Olmsted".

SUN 7/26

8pm
Brontosaur, Christians & Lions, Big Big Bucks, Allysen Callery & the Land of Nod
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$8 / 18+

People should go to support the power of "Cheap Thrills". The guys from Brontosaur told me the cover is under $8 to attract readers like YOU. There’s a pretty good mix of bands: Brontosaur gives delightfully twisted indie-rock. They’ve got a new EP as do the slightly pysch, catchy folk Christians & Lions. It wouldn’t hurt to bring a few extra bucks to support local bands.

The Big Big Bucks rock it up, and Allysen Callery & the Land of Nod hopefully won’t make you nod off with acoustic gentleness.

SUN 7/26

8:30pm
Boston League Of Women Wrestlers, Alchemilla, Suit Of Hair, Giant Target
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$8 / 18+

Female wrestling and rock! There may be free BBQ around 4-ish...

Sneak Peek -- SAT 7/25


Ah, we'd probably settle for a solid month of Summer...

It's funny that versions of The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones would be in town. One has some original members, but they both seem like tribute bands. Believe it or not, you have to pay to see the cover band from Italy.

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SAT 7/25 to SUN 7/26

Various Times
Annual Lowell Folk Festival
at Various Spots in Downtown Lowell
FREE

SAT: Noon to 6pm
SUN: Noon to 6pm

Don’t go expecting to see singer-songwriters sensitively strumming in sandals. (Hey, maybe there'll be some people playing hackey sack!)

The Lowell Folk Festival emphasizes folks playing music from around the country and all corners of the globe.

There are performance areas throughout downtown Lowell where dozens of groups serve up dozens of musical flavors as well as other street entertainment. Most groups play 3 or 4 times during the weekend at various stages, so check the schedule if you're interested in. Cajun legend DL Menard is one of the highlights of the weekend.

As usual, there will be loads of food vendors with a wide variety of ethnic goodies; take a stroll around the festival to see & smell what you’ll like.

SAT 7/25

7pm
The Beach Boys
at Hatch Shell, Charles River Esplanade, Storrow Dr, Boston
FREE

It may not really be "The Beach Boys" as you hear on the records, but they've got lead singer (and crazy man) Mike Love with another original Beach Boy, a Cowsill, and other guys.

Part of the Oldies 103.3 Summer Concert Series.

SAT 7/25

Viva Viva (11:30pm), Coyote Kolb (10:30pm), Movers & Shakers (9:30pm)
at Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston (Fenway)
$8 / 21+

What I like about Viva Viva is the way they swing their big, jagged rock guitars around their songs in a tasty blend of classic/contemporary. Maybe like The Black Crowes if they had indie-cred... Coyote Kolb sounds like a laid-back alt-country outfit to me. Movers & Shakers get two big thumbs up from me; definitely a tasty rock stew.

SAT 7/25

Bob & the Dickheads (Midnight), The Diamond Mines (11pm), Bacchus King (10pm), A Bit Much (9pm)
at Cantab Underground / Club Bohemia, 738 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$8

As a fan of The Diamond Mines, I think they're the future of rock. Or the past of rock or the present of rock. Maybe they're tralfamadorian / tardis-traveling, multi-dimensional beast of rock. Their music never sounds forced, but there are lots of clever bits in there to keep your ears on their toes... It's the sound of hopped-up rockers who don't need a wall of distortion to get you bouncing around.

It gave me a chance to listen to Bob & the Dickheads and Bacchus King, who have a similar joie-de-vivre in their rock. On my previous listen to A Bit Much, I appreciated the variety of tunes.

SAT 7/25

10pm
The Stoners
at The Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain
$10ish

More for curiosity. This is a Rolling Stones cover band From Italy. "Mick" sounds closer to the big-lipped Limey on the faster tunes, which would be expected.

FRI 7/24: Kill Bill, Folk Fest, Much Rock


So I was home sick yesterday and didn't get my list together as I would've hoped. I might flesh today's list out in a couple hours with weekend stuff to follow.

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FRI 7/24 to MON 7/27

5pm & 7:15pm
"Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2": Double Feature
at Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
$9.50

Did you hear that one of the main actors might have died from auto-erotic self-asphyxiation? How timely...

Both halves work as Tarantino films with the humorous dialogue and the usually heavy borrowing on cinematic influences -- but it's really best to watch them together. The injection of Uma Thurman as the bad-ass killing machine seeking revenge is what elevates the action scenes and the movie as a whole.

FRI 7/24 to SUN 7/26

Various Times
Annual Lowell Folk Festival
at Various Spots in Downtown Lowell
FREE

FRI: 7pm to 10pm
SAT: Noon to 6pm
SUN: Noon to 6pm

Don’t go expecting to see singer-songwriters sensitively strumming in sandals. (Hey, maybe there'll be some people playing hackey sack!)

The Lowell Folk Festival emphasizes folks playing music from around the country and all corners of the globe.

There are performance areas throughout downtown Lowell where dozens of groups serve up dozens of musical flavors as well as other street entertainment. Most groups play 3 or 4 times during the weekend at various stages, so check the schedule if you're interested in. Cajun legend DL Menard is one of the highlights of the weekend.

As usual, there will be loads of food vendors with a wide variety of ethnic goodies; take a stroll around the festival to see & smell what you’ll like.

FRI 7/24

9pm
Taking Back Sunday, Crooked X
at City Hall Plaza, Boston (Govt Center)
FREE

If you like emo. Taking Back Sunday is "Giving It Away Friday". Teen metal dudes Crooked X, who sound rather mature, are also playing.

FRI 7/24

9:30pm
Mike Gent & The Rapid Shave
at Bull McCabe's, 366A Somerville Ave, Somerville (Union Sq)
FREE-ish

Mike Gent has had some mellower moments with The Figgs and his side band The Gentlemen, but the amps are turned down a few notches on the new solo album. Mike and his rhythm section are bound to play a bunch tasty covers as well.

I saw somewhere that they're play at Alchemist Lounge on TUES 7/28.

FRI 7/24

9:30pm
Varsity Drag, The Grownup Noise, Winterpills, Brendan Boogie & The Best Intentions
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$9 / 18+

Yes, Bleu is celebrating his CD around the corner at TT's. For $3 less, you can catch Varsity Drag CD release show with three other awesome bands.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

THUR 7/23: Art, Film, Latin, Punk, Shakespeare

Obbini Tumbao
Well... I had a bit of technical difficulties, but here are some ideas for today. I guess I'm getting soft when I put the photo of the Afro-Cuban ladies instead of the punk flyer. Hopefully, we'll have clear skies tonight.

Btw: It's free to see the Celtics Dancers final auditions at House of Blues tonight, but they're asking for a $10 donation for the Celtics Shamrock Foundation. You can get tickets at local Qdoba locations to stare from much closer than the top level at the Garden.

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THUR 7/23

5pm to 8pm
Neighborhood Nights: "Pleasure Gardens"
at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston (The Fens)
FREE

Isabella Stewart Gardner would open her home to the neighborhood a century ago, and now the museum continues the tradition for three summer Thursdays. There's one more free night in August, but when was the last time you've been there? It's one of the most beautiful interiors in town. Berklee's bluegrass band is going to play, and there will be activities for all, but let the kids at it first:

* decorate your own flower pot
* plant seeds in peat pots to grow at home
* create a musical wind chime to enhance your outdoor space

THUR 7/23

5pm
"Together in Time", "Life After High School": Screening & Reception
at West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St, Boston
FREE

There are a couple other films still to be shown as part of the "Avenue of the Arts Film Festival", but this is the only notable remaining program. Documentary director Steve Alves, who lives in Western Mass, will be at the 5pm 'reception' with music by the Patrice Monahan Jazz Group.

The films (at 6pm) each last about half an hour. "Together in Time" (2001) examines the past and present of contra dancing in New England. You can laugh at the youth fashion of 2000 in "Life After High School" while seeing how the grads deal with their options. Hey, it's free and there might even be some wine at the reception.

THUR 7/23

7pm
Obbini Tumbao
at O'Day Park, 85 W Newton St, Boston (South End)
FREE

Take a West African word for "woman" and a vague term for "a beat", and you've got a sweet Afro-Cuban band created by percussionist Anita Quinto and pianist Rebecca Cline who met at Berklee who put together a crack band with vocalists and fat horn section. Good times for grooves.

There's one more concert in the Tito Puente Latin Music Series next week, so think about it.

THUR 7/23

9:30pm
The Briggs, Left Alone, Refuse Resist, The Acro-brats
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$9 / 18+

It's two California punk bands with two of our local outfits, Refuse Resist and The Acro-brats. I'm not that hip to the scene, but all the bands sound damn good. Upon reflection this is the best cheap rock show of the night.


THUR 7/16 (thru THUR 8/6)

6:45pm
"The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)"
at Christian Herter Park, 1175A Soldiers Field Road, Brighton (near Charles River, across from WBZ)
FREE

"To rain or not to rain." That is the question, since this wacky take on all 37 Shakespeare plays in slightly more than 90 minutes.

It's happening where the Publick Theatre has performed Shakespeare on a yearly basis, but they're "on hiatus." Besides the Bard being twisted for free, there are grills at the park for anyone to make burgers or whatever...

You can pay $15 or go for free on Thursdays. If you have valid student ID, you can get in for free on Fridays too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Contest: Tweet Will Dailey to get on Cruise Concert

Will Dailey Cruise Concert Contest
Will Dailey & the Rivals head out to sea for a Boston Harbor cruise on FRI 7/31. You can buy tickets for $25, but why not win a pair of tickets with a paltry tweet?

To enter, simply twitter: "@willdailey I want you to sing me a song #willdaileyonaboat".* You have to get twitterin' by SAT 7/25 for a chance to win. (And sorry, teenyboppers -- it's a 21+ event...)

This is could be a fun night without Dailey and band. We're in the midst of Will releasing a series of musical mini-releases known collectively as "Torrent" (at least for Volumes 1 & 2). The new releases have plenty of local references like one volume named "By the Blue Hills" (inspired by Boston in general), and there's a song called "Allston".

All the attention he's getting is much deserved, since his songs are so well-written with equal attention to words and music and radio-ready production. There's a strong vein of poppy folk-rock, yet one can admire Dailey for the pleasant variety.

Even when Will hits the Top-40, I'll still dig his stuff without shame. You can hear an authentitcity in that soulful voice (that I don't really get from irritating punks like Mayer or Mraz). I ran into Will Dailey last year, and we talked for a few minutes. He seems like a genuinely nice guy that we should get behind.

The best thing about a free Harbor cruise is that you feel quite liberated to buy a bunch of drinks when I've saved $50. If you win, "Will will both dedicate and serenade the winner of this contest." So that's kinda cool.

Some don't use Twitter -- like teens -- that's cool. Bottom line: It's free, and you don't have to use it. (I'm dabbling to monitor for cheap opportunities, but I rarely send anything -- yet.) It is a way to win stuff like this, and you'll hear about opportunities if you follow the right feeds, like Paul Pierce...

This is a funny, little promo video:



* I could explain the "@" (you're sending the message to Will's twitter) and the "#" (whatever follows is like a tag you'd find on websites), but you don't need to worry unless you want to be twitterific.

WED 7/22: Music, Film, Wine, Burlesque


I haven't read anything about Peter Mulvey or Mark Eitzel, but it seems like last night's music delivered the goods... Humpday options are are also promising...

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WED 7/22

6pm
Bleu -- Performance & Signing
at Newbury Comics, North Market Bldg, 4 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston (Faneuil Hall)
FREE

Bleu is back in town for a few days, and you should go to the Friday show at TT's ($12). If you already love him, I don't have to say anything. For the rest of you, check him out today and experience the killer songs and charisma.

I listened to his "Redhead" CD over and over again. While the LEO and Major Labels projects didn't make the same emotional connection with me, their both filled with 'pure pop for now people'*.

If you go tonight, get ready to buy the long-awaited "A Watched Pot" -- if you haven't already. There's also a 6 song EP of what might be described as "b-sides, etc" available for free at NoiseTrade. I've signed up a while ago, and it's not malicious or annoying.

WED 7/22

7pm
"Herskovits: At The Heart of Blackness"
at Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St, Brookline
$9.75

The Roxbury Film Festival starts in earnest next week, but this documentary (co-presented by the he Boston Jewish Film Festival) is kicking things off. In a preview screening of the 60-minute look at white, Jewish-American anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits that will air on "Independent Lens".

Without watching this (and not being African-American), it may be a subtle and enlightening story about this scholar who had a revolutionary view of history to raise the dignity of a large part of America's population.

WED 7/22

7pm
July Winedown: "Book Club Mixer"
at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
FREE

I already like shopping at Harvard Book Store, so it's pleasant to mingle while enjoying a bit a wine. Most month's have a theme like "Book Club Mixer" where folks from publishers will be discuss potential book-club titles. You might even nab one of the "free advance reading copies" that will be handed out...

WED 7/22

Audrey Ryan (10pm), Elsinore (7pm)
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)
FREE

Do you think you could be blown away on a Wednesday night? It will happen to people at Toad. The amazing Audrey Ryan serves up some smart lyrics dancing on the inventive melodies the hit ears like spikes made out of butter. Guitar, accordion, kick drum... It's Audrey Ryan music!

You should go early to catch Elsinore who are touring from Illinois. They apparently started out as an acoustic/folky group, but it's full-on, tight-arrangement, power-poppish indie-rock.

WED 7/22

9pm
Boston Babydolls: "Taste O' Burlesque"
at Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston (Fenway)
$5 / 21+

I'll admit I'm on the fence about burlesque dancing. While I've seen impressive and/or fun performances, the reality usually doesn't live up the idea in my mind. But I often list it, 'cause other people may dig it more than me.

The Babydolls offer classes, so I'm guessing most of the newbies performing might have received training recently, but it seems anyone can register for this "open stage" presentation. Prizes may be won. No nudity (unfortunately). Shake your thang, or just enjoy the sights.

WED 7/22

9:30pm
"Xmas in July": The Scrooges, Side Effects, Night Prowlers
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$8

Not much to say. The Scrooges usually appear during the yuletide season for a few Stooges tribute gigs in sleazy Santa attire. You can get an earful and eyeful tonight for a booster shot of fun along with Night Prowlers who consist of guys from local metal bands doing AC/DC songs. Straight-up punk from Side Effects may be the meat in the rock sandwich?

WED 7/22

10:30pm
Kay McKinstry & the Good Poor
at Plough & Stars, 912 Mass. Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
FREE

It is just my (well-informed, usually right, humble) opinion, this version of the "Cambridge-Somerville All-Stars" is better with Kay McKinstry stepping out of the shadow of the former bandleader and shining with her vocals front and center. There's no web page that I know of, but I was at their first show (last month?), and it was a splendid mix of cool, laidback alt-country/Americana.

If you don't believe me, you can listen for free.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TUES 7/21: Three Excellent Shows

Peter Mulvey does Rain Dogs, Atwoods Tavern
For a Tuesday night, there are a plethora of solid gigs. I'm not even listing Mark Eitzel's show at the Lizard Lounge, because it's $14+.

Maybe you had a chance to get a free pastry from Starbucks this morning. I tried to pass on the info as soon as I heard about it.

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TUES 7/21

7:30pm & 10pm
Peter Mulvey plays Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs"
at Atwoods Tavern, 877 Cambridge St, Cambridge (near Inman & Kendall Sq)
$10

There's a low, rich, weathered timbre to Peter Mulvey's voice that spent quite a few years getting seasoned at clubs and T stops around Boston. I like the way this guy plays with ideas like recording a CD of cover songs at the Davis Sq station -- and for performing "Rain Dogs" in its entirety (with band).

He's done this before, but it is my humble opinion that this is the best Tom Waits record -- bar none. Not only are the songs vivid tales like outtakes of a film noir classic, the overall sound is a milestone in his career. This feels like the crossroads between his early singer-songwriter work and the off-kilter soundscapes that continue through the present. Mulvey's gentle rasp will suit the material like a glove.

There are two separate shows at 7:30pm and 10pm.

TUES 7/21

9pm
Mark Burgess w/ Curtain Society, Aaron Perrino, Lifestyle, Shawn Saindon & Ryan Dolan, Dave Jackel
at Hennessy's Upstairs, 25 Union St, Boston (near Faneuil Hall)
$10 / 21+

While I wasn't a huge fan of The Chameleons UK, they were one of the cool new wave bands -- like the more popular Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen -- whose music holds up really well. Serendipity finds Mark Burgess, the chief Chameleon, in Boston; and a gig has formed around his night in town.

Burgess is going to be backed by Worcester's Curtain Society for a set of classic Chameleons UK and his solo songs. All the other performers are just fans who want to be on the show. It's also a great chance to hear Aaron Perrino (of Dear Leader, The Sheila Divine) and Lifestyle who don't gig around Boston much. There's going to be a lot of music-geek love in the room.

Note: It's my understanding that you will be carded no matter how old you are.

TUES 7/21

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby (10:15pm), Jimmy Ryan (9:15pm)
at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$10

Music fans would fondly remember Wreckless Eric if he never wrote another song after "Whole Wide World". It was punk like Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe (his early label-mates) were punk, but it's one of those enduring songs for a simple, catchy, heartfelt awesomeness. It's been covered dozens of times and probably drunkenly sang millions of times.

These days, he and his wife Amy Rigby are still making raucous, melodic rock and roll as a duo.

The best damn mandolinist Jimmy Ryan will open with a solo set.

Monday, July 20, 2009

7/21: Free Starbucks Pastry w/ Beverage Purchase


Opening to 10:30am
A Muffin, Scone, Bagel, Etc.
at Participating Starbucks locations
FREE (w/ Beverage Purchase)

Note: If you click on the coupon image or "Muffin, Scone, Bagel" link, the page will prompt you to print.

Some of you may go to Starbucks in the morning, so you might as well get a free pastry with your coffee (or whatever "handcrafted, brewed, or iced" drink you usually have).

One of the relevant restrictions is that the offer is not valid at "airports, travel plazas, or Barnes & Noble cafes."

(Thanks, Maria!)

Free Movies

Like the Google calendar, a set of "ongoing cheap fun links" is in the pipeline.

Since the Boston Public Library has a film series (or two) over the next couple months, I might as well start with "Free/Cheap Movies".

This page will be updated and enhanced as time goes on. When it falls off the front page, I'll link it to the right side and probably change the format as time goes by.

I don't always check it, but I've noticed that Joe from Somerville does a good job of keeping up with free films in the Boston area on his Google calendar.

These may or may not make the main list (see "Tommy" tonight!), but it is free air conditioning...

Last Updated: 9/8/09

(Wow, this is woefully out-of-date! I'm taking it off the front page for a day or two...)

* * * ONE-OFFS * * *


TUES 9/8

7pm
"O Outro Lado da Rua (The Other Side of the Street)": Screening
at Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St, Arlington
FREE

As part of the continued Independence celebration, you can watch this thriller in the mold of Hitchcock's "Rear Window".

* * * MONDAYS * * *



* * * THURSDAYS * * *

MON 7/20: Improv, Rock, Tequila

Casper and the Cookies, tonight at Middle East Upstairs
It's not under $10, but I listed a tequila tasting at the bottom, because: 1) it's only $5 over the limit, 2) I like Redbones, 3) I like Downtown Wine & Spirits, and 4) Tequila isn't a bad way of conquering Monday blahs/blues.

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MON 7/20

9pm to 11pm
"CastleBar CageMatch"
at Castlebar, 575 Washington St, Brighton (Oak Sq)
$1

Have you seen Ultimate Fighting commercials with Brock Lesnar? That guy is a scary freak of nature, but he wouldn't stand a chance at this cage match.

In these battle of wits, there will be several rounds of head-to-head improv contests including members of groups like ImprovBoston, Anderson Comedy, as well as others. Anyone can join in for the "improv jam" at the end

I have no dedicated link, but I know it's happening. One of the guys emailed me, and it's happened once before. Folks supposedly had a good time at the first time. It's not hard to believe when Miller High Life is $2.

MON 7/20

9:30pm
You Can Be A Wesley, Casper & The Cookies, Everything Now, Magic Magic
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$8 / 18+

Heap after wave after surge of indie pop fills the "upstairs" room all night. It's easy to enjoy the sunny, psychedelic rock of Casper & The Cookies from Athens (Georgia). For those of you keeping track of all Of Montreal offshoots, Casper/Jason played with them on "Satanic Panic in the Attic" and "The Sunlandic Twins".

Everything Now seems so familiar to me. Maybe because each of their songs have so many musical references. These folks from Indianapolis are all over the place, but there's an overall atsty, trippy garage-pop vibe.

You could have heard You Can Be A Wesley and Magic Magic at ArtBeat for free. (Although it seemed like Magic Magic's Friday set was getting called off due to threat of rain. I didn't stick around.) Now you can pay a few bucks to catch the sweet tunes from two of our excellent local bands.

MON 7/20

10pm
66 Breakout, Boston Beat Machine, Hazard Adams
at Charlies Kitchen, 10 Eliot St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
$5 / 21+

They may not have $2 High Life's, but the PBR is served at Charlies. Many beers will be quaffed, and Hell will likely be raised.

Sweaty, Mississippi-bound bluesy rock is the sound of 66 Breakout who aptly describe their sound as "70s Detroit teenagers trying to sound like 60s London teenagers trying to sound like 50s Memphis teenagers trying to sound like 40s Clarksdale teenagers."

The Boston Beat Machine should rip it up as it seems like the band includes Tom from The Dirty Truckers and Jim from Buttercup. Hazard Adams churns out a country/folky classic rock that sorta reminds me of early-70s Stones. The vocals grated me a bit on the recordings, but I imagine they're cushioned by the band in concert.

Deal of the Night:

MON 7/20

5pm to 7pm
"Tequila Tasting with Tony"
at Redbones, 55 Chester St, Somerville (Davis Sq)
$15

Tasting starts at 5:30pm, but events like these fill up and it's a "first come - first serve" deal. Tony Iamunno from Downtown Wine & Spirits is going to lead the group through a tasting of 8 different tequilas.

It's a rare occasion that I drink any tequila better than Hornitos, but this seems like a damn good deal for the amount of top-shelf booze. Look at the math: 8 x 1/2 oz pours = 4 shots for $15. There's also going to be some complementary (sic, I assume complimentary) appetizers.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

7/19: Sunday Night Off-Topic Video

Watching "House MD" feels like a guilty pleasure. I like various aspects, but the structure seems so redundant. As a fan of British comedies (thanks to PBS), I'm familiar with Hugh Laurie when he was funny -- on various seasons of the "Black Adder" series. So weird to compare the two performances.

Here's a clip from an older comedy series with Stephen Fry (a mighty fine performer and twitternaut):



Damn, he does a good American accent!

SUN 7/19: Day Cheapness


What's in the clubs tonight? Nothing that would really shake me by the lapels, if I had lapels. Have some daytime fun, and relax tonight.

There's a Gospel Fest at City Hall Plaza this evening, but I really couldn't get excited about it. If you're a church-going type, some time at this might count instead of getting up early and dressing up...

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SUN 7/19

10am to 4:45pm
Open House
at Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston (The Fens)
FREE

Hey, it's a free trip to the MFA. You could go on a Wednesday night, but how often do you remember to go? There are two good exhibits to see besides "Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice" (which costs extra): Edward Weston photography "Viva Mexico!" and the multimedia salute to music "Seeing Songs".

SUN 7/19

10am to 6pm
Annual New England Sand Sculpting Festival
at Revere Beach, Revere
FREE

Tons and tons of sand are brought in for about a dozen or so master sand-sculptors to work their magic. As someone who used to make sand castles with a pail and shells, these things blow my mind.

They've been working on their giant sand works all week, so the actual work should be done. You could walk around today or next week. Under good conditions, I've heard they last for a couple weeks.

I went a few years ago, and it's a bit south of Kelly's -- closer to the Revere Beach stop on the Blue Line. Still, I'd walk up to Kelly's for fried clams and take the Blue Line at Wonderland.

SUN 7/19

11am to 3pm
Community Boating Open House
at Community Boating Boathouse, 21 David G. Mugar Way, Boston (Esplanade)
FREE

You could've gone for a free sail in Boston Harbor yesterday, now you can head out on the Charles a little sail. Yeah, it's not like a whole afternoon lounging on the water, but it's a fun diversion -- and free! Hope for a windy day, because it's somewhat anticlimactic on a dead wind day. But you can still get a free sail! Ain't Boston cool?

I've gone to this before, and it's a quick tour of the facilities and a nice little sail on the Charles.

SUN 7/19

1pm to 7pm
Annual Betances Festival
at Villa Victoria:
Plaza Betances, 100 W. Dedham St, Boston (South End)
O'Day Park, 85 W. Newton St, Boston (South End)
FREE

Get a taste of Puerto Rican and Latino culture at the oldest & biggest Latin American festival in New England (named after the 19th-century Puerto Rican humanitarian, Dr. Ramon Betances). There will be 'mucho' pan-Latin American entertainment: music, dancing, arts, crafts, food, and a grease pole contest!

I'm sure salsa star Tito Rojas will put on a great show at 6:15pm, but the Greased Pole Contest (aka Palo Encebao) at 1pm near O'Day Park is the highlight of the Betances Festival in my book.

You wouldn't think that a bunch of guys clamoring over a big greasy pole in the South End could be eventful, but it is exciting to watch... You'll cheer, you'll groan, and you'll be amazed people will get that dirty. The food and music are close by.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

SAT 7/18: All Sorts of Cheapness

This is what I get for staying up late while writing Cheap Thrills and drinking Spanish wine from the box -- I forget to actually publish my Saturday post! There's still time to have a great time today and tonight...

This used to be the weekend where Eastie would have their Italian festa, but there's one less party to attend this year...

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SAT 7/18

Noon to 6pm
ArtBeat Festival 2009: "Somerville...Of the Future"
at Various places around Davis Square, Somerville
$3 donation suggested

Davis Square is closed to traffic due to a wonderful collision of music, art, dance, food, crafts, and activities. The theme is "Somerville...of the Future", which may be a version of robots and rockets where the Green Line extension is obsolete!

There's a parade (of the Future) at 2pm. Somerville is actually a haven of robot activity, so you'll see a bunch of benign automatons of different shapes and sizes. The music is happening on 2 stages, there's dance performances inside the Somerville Theatre, and there's all sorts of cool stuff going on around.

Bands I'd be interested in:

2:30pm: Liz Longley -- Elm Street Stage
3:30pm: The Holey Moleys -- Elm Street Stage
4:30pm: Rakiya -- Elm Street Stage
4pm: The Dirty Truckers -- Seven Hills Park
5pm: You Can Be a Wesley -- Seven Hills Park
Yes, you're not forced to donate but you'll definitely get your $3 worth of fun (and a necklace dog tag to show you chipped in). The money funds events like ArtBeat.

SAT 7/18

Noon to 7pm
Annual Mystic River Music Festival
at Condon Shell, about 2617 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford (near Mystic River)
FREE

No offense to the other bands, but there are three bands that I'd go to Medford to see:

The Seamonsters (5:30pm), Go Dog Go (4:30pm), Jenny Dee & the Deeliquents (3:30pm)

It's also a green awareness concert, so there are reasons to go. The website is annoying, but there is more info there. Just go and have your fun.

Other bands:
The Well (2:30pm), Creepy Jones (1:30pm), Guillermo Ortiz (12:30pm), Adrian Emberley (Noon)

SAT 7/18

1pm to 4pm
Sailing Open House
at Boston Sailing Center, Lewis Wharf, Boston (North End)
FREE

The sun has been visiting town more frequently in time for the Boston Sailing Center's last open house of the season. No experience necessary to take a free ride in the Harbor. You might even want to sign up for discounted lessons.

It's a "first come, first served", so who knows what kind of wait (if any) there will be. Again, this on Lewis Wharf, north of the Marriott.

SAT 7/18 & SUN 7/19

Various Times
Annual Betances Festival
at Villa Victoria:
Plaza Betances, 100 W. Dedham St, Boston (South End)
O'Day Park, 85 W. Newton St, Boston (South End)
FREE

Saturday: 3:30pm to 9pm
Sunday: 1pm to 7pm

Get a taste of Puerto Rican and Latino culture at the oldest & biggest Latin American festival in New England. There will be 'mucho' pan-Latin American entertainment: music, dancing, arts, crafts, food. (Do you like how I said "mucho"?)

There is musical performances and delicious food today, but the best time to go is tomorrow at 1pm for the Greased Pole Contest (aka Palo Encebao) near O'Day Park. It's pretty fun to watch and cheer, especially if you've never seen it before.

If you get to the approximate area, it's pretty easy to tell where the action is.

SAT 7/18 & SUN 7/19

"Whenever you want to go"
Annual New England Sand Sculpting Festival
at Revere Beach, Revere
FREE

The photos look amazing, so imagine seeing the most amazing sand sculptures up close. They've been working on their giant sand works for a few days now, so it should be pretty cool to walk around tonight or on the weekend. There could be some kind of "live entertainment" from 6pm to 9pm tonight as well as over the weekend. You can even go next week, because the sculptures last for quite a while...

Throw in a fried clam plate from Kelly's, and life will seem beautiful and carefree.

SAT 7/18

4pm
"Hamlet"
at Christian Herter Park, 1175A Soldiers Field Road, Brighton (near Charles River, across from WBZ)
FREE

Why wait until Thursday for free Shakespeare and grilling? The Rebel Shakespeare Company, an intense teen Shakespeare camp from the North Shore, rock the teen angst in "Hamlet" in between today's Orfeo Group performances.

SAT 7/18

7pm
"Viva Nelson Mandela: A Hero For All Seasons": Screening
at Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, Boston (Copley Sq)
FREE

July 18 is "Mandela Day". This recent documentary is going to shown, and I'd bet there will be some discussion before or after the screening.
Featuring exclusive interviews with politicians, close friends and comrades of Mandela, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Oliver Tambo, Pik Botha, and more!
SAT 7/18

8pm
Emily Elbert, Big Tree, Tom Tierney
at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St, Cambridge (Cambridgeport)
$5

I accidentally found Gallery 263 while strolling to the river from Central Square. It's a little art gallery on the corner of a residential neighborhood in the former location of a beloved furniture store. I like the idea of enjoying three heaping spoonfuls of melodious folkiness in this spot.

Besides the local, soulful pixie Emily Elbert, Big Tree is coming up from New York. Their guitarist, Tom Tierney, will play an opening set. You might be sick of Michael Jackson coverage like me, but I've listened to Emily's cover of "Thriller". It's actually a celebration of his good music and not some ironic bull... I hope she does it.

SAT 7/18

Gibby & The Buzzkills (12:30am), The Wynotts (11:30pm), The Scrapes (10:30pm), The Doug McDonald Band (9:30pm)
at The Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain
$7-ish

Thankfully, this is a great part of the country for kick-ass punk and garage-rock. It doesn't get much better than The Wynotts. When I listen to their cool tunes with just the right amount of snarl, I forget the circus and want to run away to join this band. The chief Wynott is super-cool-guy Rockin' Bob Cenci, formerly of great Boston punk bands like Jerry's Kids and Gang Green, so how can this not be awesome? When I first saw the name "Gibby & The Buzzkills", I was hoping it was Gibby from Butthole Surfers, but I was disappointed by their tasty garage-pop. Anything by Doug McDonald is worthy of attention too.

SAT 7/18

10pm
Annual Bastille Day A-Go-Go
at Precinct, 70 Union Sq, Somerville (Union Sq)
$10 / 21+

I didn't list it last last year, because the cover was more than $10, but it was a really good time. Who cares if the Bastille Day celebration comes via New Orleans? Old-time NOLA-style R&B is a thousand times better than Gainsbourg-esque French pop! Some of the guests include Boston's creme de la creme: Jen D'Angora, JJ Rassler, John Powhida, Jordan Valentine, Asa Brebner, Mick Mondo, and Al Janik.

SAT 7/18

Three Day Threshold (10pm), The Jinx Brothers (7pm)
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)
FREE

Get ready for some kickass, hard-drinkin', good-time alt-country/Americana. These folks are musical American heroes in my book for doing USO shows down in Central America, and they told me they're ready for a trip to the Middle East. After listening to this honky-tonking, rootsy rock, I almost want a pair of boots and a dusty cowboy hat.

The Jinx Brothers are going to do their county-blues thang earlier on.

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