Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weekend Calendar: 2/27 to 2/29

Not a bad weekend ahead of us, cheap-thrills-wise. I hope to have some more detailed opinions up before Friday morning.

If you count Thursday, there will be *two* indoor sightings of Keytar Bear. Most Medeski, Martin & Wood fans would pass Keytar Bear's Thursday gig to see a free perforamance by Medeski with the NEC Jazz Orchestra.

Friday: It's a good night for music, especially at Oberon with multimedia elements and at Cuisine en Locale with free tacos for early-birds.

Saturday: During the day, you can have winter fun at Franklin Park or support clean energy in Boston Common.

Sunday: Chinatown's New Year celebrations will be muted this year, but Quincy's event might be more animated although it's in a high school gym. If you plan ahead, there are $8 advance tix (at box office, $10 online) for Berklee's salute to Disney music...

More to come...

Monday, February 23, 2015

2/23 to 2/26: Calendar Updated

Howdy, folks.

Am working on getting a timely weekend post, but I did find some early-week cheap thrills. Expect more updates by tonight Thursday...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

SAT 2/21: Pix from Bit Fest 2

Noon to Midnight
"Bit Fest 2: Electronic Boogaloo": Arcade & Video Game Festival
at Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St, Somerville (near Union Sq)
FREE / 21+ after 6pm

Just got back from Bit Fest 2, and the party is still rolling. As I write this, you still have 7 hours to enjoy. I would have stayed longer if I didn't have other plans tonight.

Much like my recollections of going to the arcade as a little brat, someone is usually playing what you really want to play. The bright side is that there are tasty brews to sip while you practice patience. Keep in mind that half-pints let you try different beers more quickly...

It seemed like a perfect opportunity to play multi-player games with strangers on arcade machines or home consoles. (Yes, there is "Dark Castle" a vintage Mackintosh Plus.)

There were some folks playing Jenga, and you can see above that they have a variety of non-electronic games available.

Aeronaut Brewery is just a short walk from Union Square, however I did see a parking lot on Tyler street that said "Ames Business Park" -- where the action is happening.

2/21 & 2/22: Top 7 Cheap Thrills to Make You Leave Your Place

There is more on the CTB calendar, and these are my weekend highlights.


SAT 2/21 & SUN 2/22

11am to 8pm
Slope Fest
at Lawn on D, 420 D St, Boston (Southie)

It's difficult to know what's going on this weekend at the park near the Seaport, because it has been postponed due to all of the friggin' snow yet the event description has not changed. If you like to frolic in a more organized manner with food trucks and a bar, then this is your place. Other cheap options include Boston Common or the MIT snow mountains off Vassar Street.

Slope Fest does offer a snow tubing down a 70-foot long slope for a few bucks, which could be cool...

SAT 2/21

12:30pm to 3:30pm
Indoor – Outdoor Snow Day
at Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse, One Circuit Drive, Boston (Dorchester/Jamaica Plain)

Unlike Slope Fest, Franklin Park keeps it modest. After postponing a few times, the Snow Festival is now an indoor/outdoor fun day. You can borrow a sled if don't have one, or you can hang out and play games inside. Whatever, man...

SAT 2/21

10am to 4:45pm
Lunar New Year Celebration
at Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston (Fenway)

Yes, the MFA is worth the $25 adult admission. On the other hand, it's nice to get in for free -- and they do give you a little bit of pressure to pay on the 'free' Wednesday nights.

THere are too many people on these full-on free days -- they just process you in and let you roam the galleries where various activities & performances draw upon the Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese celebrations of the lunar new year.

SAT 2/21

Noon to Midnight
"Bit Fest 2: Electronic Boogaloo": Arcade & Video Game Festival
at Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St, Somerville (near Union Sq)
FREE / 21+ after 6pm

Besides the various older home systems, there will be about 2 dozen old arcade games -- so bring as many quarters as you can carry (not kidding). Casually play or sign up for one of the hourly tournaments to show everyone that you kick ass at MarioKart 64.

Expect to see stuff that you probably haven't seen in years on the vendor tables. Vintage-game-influenced music will set the mood to play again and again.

Do I have to remind you that this going down at a brewery?

SAT 2/21

4pm to 6pm
at Plough & Stars, 912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Central Sq)
FREE / 21+

7:30pm to 9pm
Tad Overbaugh & The Late Arrivals
at Toad, 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge (Porter Sq)
FREE / 21+

When it's cold and snowy, I know some of you like to grab a pint or two (or more). If the Red Line is running, there are two free gigs within walking distance of Harvard Sq and Porter Sq. You could even start with grrl-powered harmonies over garage rock and have plenty of time to partake some rootsy-twangy songsmanship.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

SUN 2/22

8pm to 10pm
Geek Girl Boston presents: "Historical Hysteria"
at Club Oberon, 2 Arrow St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)
$10 Standing Room / $15 Stools / $20 Table Seats

During the day, a noted biblical scholar is giving a lecture that should be rather interesting at Trinity Church. I'm more inclined to watch a burlesque dance inspired by Julius Caesar. History is the theme for the performances which will include some circus arts. (The seating map shows an extra performance area adjacent to the stage. Some people will even tell jokes & stories without taking off their clothes.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FRI 2/20: Snow, Lit, Poetry, Rock

Let's see if I can summarize the rest of the CTB weekend calendar tonight.

Until then, go outside and have fun despite the temps! (Then go back inside, because it's pretty cold out there.)


FRI 2/20 to SUN 2/22

Various Times
Slope Fest
at Lawn on D, 420 D St, Boston (Southie)

Friday -- 6pm to 8pm (downhill winter sport exhibition)
Saturday -- 11am to 8pm (snow tubing and downhill winter sport exhibition)
Sunday -- 11am to 8pm (snow tubing)

It's difficult to know what's going on this weekend at the park near the Seaport, because it has been postponed due to all of the friggin' snow yet the event description has not changed. If you like to frolic in a more organized manner with food trucks and a bar, then this is your place. Other cheap options include Boston Common or the MIT snow mountains off Vassar Street.

Slope Fest does offer a snow tubing down a 70-foot long slope for a few bucks, which could be cool…

FRI 2/20

Daniel Handler w/ Elisa Gabbert & Janaka Stucky, "Poets & Pirates": Readings
at First Parish Church, 3 Church St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)

Doors open at 6:30pm; tix available at Harvard Book Store or 617-661-1515 or online.

Though Daniel Handler has written a handful of novels geared for adults -- including the latest, "We Are Pirates" -- most of us get excited about his time in The Magnetic Fields and the books he wrote as Lemony Snicket.

Local poet & impresario Janaka Stucky and Denver poet Elisa Gabbert will both share some pieces as well.

FRI 2/20

7pm to 9pm
"The History of Synthesis Part 1: Before Moog": Lecture/Demonstration
at Mmmmaven, 614 Mass Ave #203, Cambridge (Central Sq)

Since I found out about this place, I've been intrigued by a learning place focused on electronic dance music and turntabling. Of course they want you to sign up for a course, but one can just sit there enjoy the evening if like really old synthesizers. There will be an ancient doo-dad on hand that still works.

FRI 2/20

7:30pm to 9pm
"The Colored Museum" Poetry Slam
at Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St, Boston (Beacon Hill)

Doors open at 6:30pm; "First come, first served" (or RSVP)

In association with the Huntington Theatre Company's upcoming production "The Colored Museum", poets from colleges between here and New York will compete for a prize and right to be known as the Museum of African American History's Poetry Slam Champ.

FRI 2/20

"2nd Annual Lux Lives": Celebration of Lux Interior of The Cramps
at The Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain
$8 / 21+

Feat: The Evil Streaks, The Skeleton Beats, Thee Icepicks, DJ Kogar The Swinging Ape

The wild man in heels who fronted The Cramps died 6 years ago, but Lux Interior lives on through the fantastic rockabilly with a creepiness that was just as original as anything else emerging from the NYC punk scene. As part of a global series of annual concerts, his fans and musical successors get together as a fundraiser for Best Friends Animal Society (his favorite charity).

FRI 2/20

Reports, Halfsour, Mark Robinson, Laika's Orbit
at Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$8 / 21+

While checking out this gig, my 2008 recommendation for Reports also said "they don't play out very often". While I haven't been diligently monitoring the club listings, I assume a band who is celebrating their 10th anniversary is rocking up and down the coast every week.

It took me a while to warm up to their noisy, messy goodness, but you will be dancing around the room if you give them a chance. Everyone on the bill sounds great in their own poppy/punky way, especially Mark Robinson formerly of 90's DC rockers Unrest and who has played locally over the years in Cotton Candy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weekend Calendar: 2/20 to 2/22

Okay. The CTB machine is not running on all cylinders yet -- but we’re moving forward.

Guess what? Two snow-related events were postponed again to this weekend...

Lemony Snicket’s alter ego is in town...

The MFA is open for free on Saturday for the Lunar New Year, and there's a video game festival...

My weekend fun-list ends with history-themed burlesque on Sunday. More exciting than the Oscars? You bet!

More to come...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

SAT 2/14: Pre-Blizzard V-Day

I tried checking the events on CTB Calendar and moved/deleted what I could confirm. I'm guessing most of Sunday's fun will be cancelled... There is still fun to be had even though some are fretting over more friggin' snow.


If you've ever wondered about the difference between Chinese New Year and Vietnamese New Year, someone at the Tet in Boston Festival will be glad to tell you.

Just around the corner from the Boston Convention Center, there is a fancy new park where they're having organized winter fun. Yes, you can go tubing in the Common or nearly anywhere else in town for free. At Slope Fest, they have a 70-foot slope for $3/$5 -- and there's a bar...

Somewhere near Kendall Square, a benevolent alien has landed and Earth wants to attack -- at least that is what the play is about...

Later tonight, there is comedy at a brewery, the best Mardi Gras music you can find in the area, and typically awesome music at Toad.

REMEMBER: There is no late-night MBTA service tonight! If you stay out too late, you are walking, cabbing, or spending the night with someone...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

According to an infographic $19 billion is spent related to Valentine's Day, but don't overspend on a fake holiday. I prefer to be normal and express normal affection. It's also Saturday before a blizzard, so it's not a bad night to stay in with a loved one.

Some decent last-minute ideas include:

* Write a note of adoration in 25 words or less. Brevity is forceful, there's less opportunity to screw it up. Make it a haiku for poetic flair. Use some creative paper (and creative doesn't have to be fancy)...

* Why write something when you can use previously-tested literary panty-droppers?

* If none of those don't feel right and you can't find something appropriate on this page filled with love poems, then you have to write something original.

* Just look into their eyes, and say something heartfelt.

* Nick Offerman is rather convincing with his advice.

* Maybe a little image with some text may do the trick.

* SomeEcards has the best cynical messages for this and every occasion.

* Digital valentine candy is fun, low calorie, sustainable, and cheap:

* And did you know you can turn any game into "Strip-[fill in name of game]"?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weekend Calendar: 2/13 to 2/15

Lots of good stuff...

There are even some Valentine-themed options in there, so no need to spend too much!

So far, my faves are:

FRI 2/13:
Slope Fest *all weekend* (Southie), White Dynomyite/Muck & The Mires/etc (Great Scott)

SAT 2/14:
If I had to pick one, my heart is with Wolf's 22nd Annual Mardi Gras Ball (Somerville)

SUN 2/15:
Lizard Lounge Poetry Night 18th Anniversary

More to come...

Friday, February 06, 2015

FRI 2/6: Travel, Film, Music

Considering I gave myself over a month to get back in the saddle, this is rather pitiful. Would it be excusable if I said that I was spending many hours assisting a worthwhile non-profit organization?

Let’s see if I can get it in gear to fill the Google calendar and write a half-decent weekend post...


FRI 2/6 to SUN 2/8

Various Times
Boston Globe Travel Show
at World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston (Seaport)
$10 / *FREE with Online Promo Code* / Children 12 and under: FREE (with a parent)

Friday: 5:30pm to 8pm
Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm
If you haven't been on vacation this winter, you have to be thinking about it. Most booths are set up to sell you something, but you can get a bunch of travel ideas. This event probably doesn't change much from year to year, but you might be inspired.

Those who are ready to pull the trigger will also find various discount offers -- especially if you don't mind getting on mailing lists.

There's also an array of seminars and presentations including a couple of Frommers and the author of "1000 Places to See Before You Die".

I found a discount code (use: BSN15), that will get you in for free.

FRI 2/6

"Homage to Ousmane Sembene: the Father of African Cinema": Film Screening & Discussion
at Bright Screening Room, Paramount Theatre, 559 Washington St, Boston (Downtown Crossing)
$10 / $5 students
FREE / All Ages
8pm -- Introduction by Dr. Claire Andrade-Watkins & Dr. Samba Gadjigo
8:10pm -- "Black Girl (La Noire de...)"
9:15pm – Q&A
Almost 50 years ago a Senegalese feature film by director Ousmane Sembène was released, and the story followed a young woman who works for a wealthy French couple. You know that classism and racism are some of the issues addressed, but why not let professors from Emerson and Mt. Holyoke tell you about it.

FRI 2/6

8pm to 11pm
Damn Tall Buildings, The Western Den, Nemes
at Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St, Boston (Back Bay)
$10 / All Ages

I’m mainly recommending this show based on hearing Nemes live and being blown away by their tight harmonies considering that they can rock out as well.

It’s more harmonies and folky goodness all the way through.