The New England Sand Sculpting Festival is having an opening ceremony tonight at Revere Beach. Some of the work has already begun, although I'd rather see it closer to the finished product this weekend (or next).
If you thought the Goldstar post below was simply shameless promotion, the intro does include a brief summary of Bastille Day cheapness.
5pm to 9pm
Neighborhood Nights: "Gardens Alive!"
at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston (The Fens)
The spirit of 'Neighborhood Nights' is to bring nearby families to the museum on 3 summer nights similar to Isabella Stewart Gardner opening her home once a year.
You don't need to be a 'neighbor' or a bring your family to visit one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen surrounded by a mix of ancient, Renaissance, Asian, and early-American art.
Hey, when was the last time you visited the Gardner Museum? You probably haven't seen the new, Renzo Piano-designed wing where the carriage house used to be. I'd go just to walk around the new building.
The next (and last) Neighborhood Night is THUR 8/9.
5:30pm to 1:30am
Bastille Day Fete
at The Beehive, 541 Tremont St, Boston (South End)
FREE / 21+
6:30pm to 8:30pm -- Les Voleurs De SwingThis is the first of a handful Bastille Day events on the cheap side over the next few days. The music and a drink is what you can get for $10 or less tonight, although the food is delicious.
9pm to 1:30am -- "Le Bon Ton"
If you're meeting someone for drinks in the South End, why not enjoy a gypsy-jazz band like you may have heard at the Hot Club de France 75 years ago? I assume Le Bon Ton is a French DJ and have nothing else to say about it.
6pm to 9pm
"Flirting with Disaster"
at West End Johnnies, 138 Portland St, Boston (near North Station)
There's nothing much happening here except a mixer hosted by the American Red Cross, and I think the organization does good work. Bring a business card, and you might win a raffle prize. You'll more likely be contacted to donate blood or money...
THUR 7/12 (thru THUR 8/30)
6pm to 8:30pm
Harborwalk Sounds: Italo Cunha & the Mates
at Institute for Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston (South Boston/Seaport)
I highly recommend going to the ICA on any Thursday night for a free stroll through the galleries. Whether or not modern art is your game, there is a hallway with a breathtaking view of the Harbor.
Over 8 summer weeks, sitting under the museum's shade is more entertaining thanks to a different band that plays a couple sets. It's fine to sit for as long as you like -- before, after, or in between art appreciation.
The series kicks off with the jazz stylings of Italo Cunha and his Mates.
6pm to 9pm
Annual Lantern Festival
at Lake Hibiscus, Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave, Jamaica Plain
FREE / $10 requested donation per lantern
Feat: Showa Boston, Whiskey Boys, Gund Kwok, Grand Master Tsuji's Taiko
Based on the Japanese midsummer Bon Festival, a Buddhist ritual in memory of loved ones in which lanterns represent the souls of the dead are floated out to sea and prayers are offered so that they might rest in peace.
You can send a lantern(s) floating into Lake Hibiscus at sunset in memory of loved ones. Purchase a lantern with a message in Japanese calligraphy and/or write some of your own thoughts on the shades. (In my experience, it seemed like they sell fast.)
You can watch for free too. There is a variety of music and dance from 6pm to about 8pm, including Samurai Taiko drummers, Japanese & Chinese dancers, and some Western music. (I think that's the performers above; it's very similar to last year.)
It's a beautiful sight, and I found it difficult not to feel some emotion and meditate on those who have departed.
Don't forget the the shortcut from Forest Hills T via Tower Street.
7pm to 11pm
Arts at the Armory Dance Party
at Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville (Spring Hill)
FREE / Donations accepted
Feat: Poor Old Shine
They say dance party. When the band includes banjo, mandolin, and concertina(!) then let's just call it a hoe-down. The Appalachian Trail does pass through Connecticutt but not near where Poor Old Shine lives. They've absorbed that musical tradition anyway, and it's conveyed as a merry ol' time.
There will also be a DJ. Local craft beer and snacks will be available, so old-fashioned fun is just a bus ride away (#88 or #90).
7pm to 9pm
Revelación Cubana: The Latin Project
at Mozart Park, 312 Centre St, Jamaica Plain
The annual Tito Puente Latin Music Series continues, and don't go unless you're ready to dance. It's going to be a mambo/salsa fiesta tonight.
There's a variety from week to week at different spots where people can sit or listen or get up and dance, but you will dance if you go to JP. People walking by will not be able to help themselves to shimmy and shake.
Tan Vampires, Deleted Scenes, Soft Pyramids
at Middle East - Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
$9 / 18+
Wow, this is one of those all-killer-no-filler kind of shows with three excellent bands. The main reason to check out this gig would be to experience Deleted Scenes from DC in person. Fans of The Shins and Radiohead should love hearing a fresh set of songs that should tickle you in a similar way.
Tan Vampires are a bit more on the same wavelength than Soft Pyramids. Sometimes you need a little post-punky verve to break up the folky indie-rock goodness.
The Pomps, The Macrotones, Dead Ellington, Great Lakes USA, The Snails
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$9 / 18+
This line-up recognizes people who like listening to punk bands like Dead Ellington and Great Lakes USA also like ska/reggae such as The Pomps and The Snails. They might also get into the afro-funk that the Macrotones churn out with a horny deftness.
It would be nice to see more shows like this.