1) After seeing "Downtown Crossing Block Party" in print ads and on various sites, you may have seen them too. I passed through last week, and it isn't something that's worth a special trip. If you're around downtown, it's a good place to get a reasonably priced beer outside.
There's a DJ too. Although I wasn't paying attention, there seemed to be the occasional prize offering. It's right on Summer off of Washington from 5pm to 8pm.
2) Oxfam is having an event next Thursday (5/27) where they'll screen "Sisters on the Planet", a documentary about how climate change affects women around the world to a different degree. They'll also encourage you to volunteer with them. It's happening at the First Parish Church (Harvard Sq), and today is the last day to RSVP. (Thanks, Amy C.)
3) It's still Bay State Bike Week, and tomorrow would be a good day to ride into Boston.
6:30pm to 8pm
"Lessons from the Financial Crisis: More Government or Less?": Discussion
at Main Function Room, Suffolk University, 120 Tremont St, Boston (Beacon Hill)
This could be an interesting discussion when you have Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute and Peter Kadzis of the Boston Phoenix talking about financial regulation. I've read that Alan Greenspan is a Randian objectivist, and he's admitted that he was wrong about the market's ability to regulate itself.
Can we prevent another economic disaster? Probably not, but you may hear some interesting thoughts.
James Greer & Joseph Mattson: Reading
at Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Brookline (Coolidge Corner)
Two examples of "novel-rock": After writing for Spin magazine then playing bass for Guided By Voices, James Greer has written a funny and complicated novel "The Failure". Joseph Mattson is not in the band, hover his new book "Empty the Sun" comes with a soundtrack by Six Organs of Admittance. Hopefully the reading will include an excerpt of the music.
Melvern Taylor & His Fabulous Meltones
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)
Besides the intrinsic charm of Melvern Taylor's songs, these guys play with a perfectly breezy, old-time swing as Taylor strums the ukulele and sings in a clear and rich tones. This masterful blend of country, jazz, and Tin Pan Alley should be heard.
The Baker Thomas Band plays at 10pm.
7:30pm to 8:30pm
Giovanni Fazio, "Viewing the Universe with Infrared Eyes: The Spitzer Space Telescope"
at Phillips Auditorium, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St, Cambridge (between Porter Sq and Fresh Pond)
The Hubble gets the limelight, but the Spitzer is up there and still providing data past it's anticipated mission length. Dr. Fazio will discuss the benefits of research with an infrared telescope in the sky (and not the local folk singer).
It should be a beautiful night, so go up to the roof after the lecture for a little (standard) telescope viewing of the sky.
Brendan Boogie w/ Sidewalk Driver, Dan Nicklin
at Arts at The Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville (Spring Hill)
$7 / All Ages
Brendan Boogie continues his May residency, and song collaborations keep on coming! Beside his own poptastic tunes, he's joined by two more guests and two more songs written for this occasion. The format should go something like this: One of the guests will perform, Brendan joins at the end for the new song, he'll do his set, then play a song with the last performer before their set.
Tonight brings an acoustic performance from glam-rockers Sidewalk Driver fronted by magnetic singer with amazing pipes and the multi-talented leader of Old Jack playing his first (semi-)solo gig.
You can watch a bunch of videos from previous weeks.
"Don't Believe the HYPE!"
at Club Oberon, 2 Arrow St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
$8 standing / $12 seats
There are so few mime shows around town. I didn't even know Tufts had a mime troupe, but they're performing an assortment of funny, sad, and/or twisted vignettes.
By the way, you won't sit in silence for an hour; music replaces the dialogue. You'll probably have a new opinion about mimes if you go. (Thanks, Jeff.)
Golden Bloom, The Backup Factor, Sodafrog, Corin Ashley
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$10 / 18+
For those of you who wanted to hear the ukelele version of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", maybe Shawn Fogel and Golden Bloom might reprise a song from his performance a couple weeks ago. If not, you'll be treated by some of the best powerpop I heard last year.
While we can't hear any music from The Backup Factor yet, the members have played in bands like Okay Thursday and The Motion Sick so it's should be fun, catchy rockiness. Without a doubt, Sodafrog and Corin Ashley are going to bring some wonderful folky & poppy songs whether or not they'll be joined by bands.
Magic Man (Midnight), Magic Magic (11pm), ArpLine (10pm), Some Say Fire (9pm)
at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$9 / 18+
There's magic in the air at this gig with several bands with buzz to hear. Magic Man are Boston guys who apparently put this batch of electronic-flavored indie-rock while traveling in France, so that's pretty cool. We don't have to take our musical cues from the UK, but I'm surprised that I don't hear more local pride for
Salem's Dedham's Magic Magic who are huge over there. MM's generally sunny, dreamy chamber-pop-rock pricks up my ear as something special.
In addition to the 'magical' acts, ArpLine fits in nicely with their heavily textured Brooklyn synth-rock; and I expect Some Say Fire will be a pleasant surprise as they increase the intensity while decreasing the volume. In the video I watched, they take an old work-song, and transform it into a jazzy groove a la Antony & The Johnsons.