Saturday, August 11, 2012

SAT 8/11: Early Cheapness

Taking chances is part of the fun of living.

And an umbrella is a good method of staying dry.

Happy Tax Holiday Weekend!


SAT 8/11

9am to 6:30pm
Cambridge Discovery Days 2012: "Power & Politics"
at Various Locations in Cambridge

Historical walking tours may be a bit of mental broccoli for a weekend activity on a day that might rain intermittently. Some undeterred lovers of Cambridge History may still set out to various spots for a guide to lead them around for an hour or so.

Some of the 18 offerings include:

1pm to 4pm (on the hour)
"The Most Fascinating History of the Square"
meet at information kiosk, Harvard Square

This is basically the tour where someone in a top hat or bonnet gives a full tour of Harvard Square. It usually costs in the $12 range.
1pm to 2:30pm
"The Social and Political Activists of Mount Auburn Cemetery"
meet at the front gate, Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn St
Many great Americans who strived to make America a better place are buried at Mount Auburn.
2pm to 3pm
"All the World’s a Stage: A History of Performers & Performance Spaces in Harvard Square"
meet at ART Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St
Explore the history of both formal and informal performance spaces in Harvard Square.
2:30pm to 3:30pm
"Neighborhood Walk"
meet at Visitor Center, Longfellow House, 105 Brattle St
The neighborhood around the Longfellow house is rather nice; it might be more interesting with someone adding factoids/trivia here and there.
3pm to 4:15pm
"The Old Burying Ground: Epitaphs, Elegies & Encomiums"
meet at the Old Burying Ground gate, next to Christ Church, Zero Garden St
Maybe more knowledge about the carving of these gravestones will make the aesthetics more fascinating? (No touching or rubbings of stones is permitted.)
3pm to 4:30pm
"The Powder Alarm of 1774"
meet outside CCAE, 42 Brattle St
If the other tours are a bit light, hang out with Revolutionary War historian J.L. Bell as he shows you some of the locations of a major event leading up to the Revolution.
5:30pm to 6:30pm
"Writing the Civil War"
meet at Carriage Barn, Longfellow House, 105 Brattle St
How did the Civil War affect the literature of the time and authors like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne? Listen and learn.
All of the descriptions are in a PDF guide.

Another option is to take a free tour of Longfellow House (10:30am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm) or the the oldest house in Cambridge, Cooper-Frost-Austin House (Noon, 1pm, 2pm -- $5 for non-Cantabrigians).

If you have original historic photos of Cambridge, let them scan it at the Cooper-Frost-Austin and they'll give you a free Toscanini's ice cream (certificate, I assume).

SAT 8/11

"Where’s Waldo?" Crawl
start at Paddy O's, 33 Union St, Boston (near Faneuil Hall)
$5 + what you drink / 21+

1pm -- Paddy O's
1:45pm -- Hennessy's
2:30pm -- Kitty O'Shea's
3:15pm -- The Place
4pm -- Barney Fanning's
Have you ever dressed up as Waldo (or his female friend Wanda) for Halloween? You are ready for the pub crawl. If a red-striped shirt and cap are part of your usual wardrobe, I'm not going to judge... but you are ready.

Since it's a bit late to RSVP, you can still show up and hope they have enough wristbands and koozies. They say, "You don’t have to arrive at the 1st bar. Feel free to come and go as you please."

Enjoy drink specials at each spot while giving a little bit to charity (proceeds from the $5 go to Jumpstart).

As a special guest, the real Waldo will make an appearance, but it may be difficult to find him...

SAT 8/11

6pm to 10pm
Hungry Tiger Street Food Festival
at Union Sq Plaza, Somerville (nexus of Somerville Ave, Washington St, Bow St)

Rain Date -- SUN 8/12


The restaurants of Union Square span the culinary globe from India through Latin America and the good ol' USA. Taking inspiration from Asian night markets, many local eateries are offering street food option sin the plaza.

Of course there will be local artisans/craftspeople along with performances such as fire dancers and martial artists, which looked pretty cool last year.

SAT 8/11 (thru SUN 8/19)

Jean Renoir’s "Grand Illusion": 75th Anniversary Restoration
at Harvard Film Archive, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge (Harvard campus)
$9 / $7 Non-Harvard students, senior citizens

One usually falters when trying to convince someone about the greatness of a movie, but this is one of the masterpieces. Besides being the foundation of every prisoner-of-war movie of the last 75 years, there's a story that examines class issues and nationalism. It wouldn't happen in modern war, but analogies still apply today in other ways.

As I read about movie projectionists in the Phoenix recently, the HFA is one of the best rooms in ton to see a pristine, restored version.

It plays at various times through Monday, then next Friday through Sunday.

(Yes, it's a French black & white film with subtitles.)

SAT 8/11

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy": Screening
at Room 100, Bldg 26, 60 Vassar St, Cambridge (MIT campus)

Speaking as someone who paid to watch it last year, I'm not sorry I didn't wait for the free screening. It was really good.

It might be helpful to know the story beforehand, because the opening 15 minutes or so are a bit vague. However the film encapsulates the story rather well despite the time limits not shared by a novel or mini-series.

SAT 8/11 (and SUN 8/12)

Shakespeare on the Common: "Coriolanus"
at Parkman Bandstand, about 165 Tremont St, Boston (Boston Common / Tremont St Side)
Sunday -- 7pm
Again let's hope it doesn't rain, because tonight and tomorrow are your last chances to see this production.

In its 17th year, Shakespeare on the Common is perennially one of the best cheap thrills you'll find in Boston. Sure... New York has 'Shakespeare in the Park', but not every town has professional actors bringing the Bard to life outside where anyone can walk up and get cultured.

The story in "Coriolanus", a play set in Rome and written 400 years ago, might be familiar to the contemporary audience: People rioting in the street, because resources are being withheld from the masses. Those in power think they don't deserve it, and the main character has a special disdain for the common person although he's encouraged to run for office.

Although last year's film may have earned some accessibility for the play, it's long been said to be one the lesser works of Shakespeare. Like the movie, the sets probably won't look like Rome; there will also be some fight scenes.

Despite my indifference to the selection, I will still list the play every night, because 1) you might like it anyway and 2) this is an annual gift to the residents (and visitors).

"May not be appropriate for all ages. Parental discretion is advised."

Show up early for musical performances from 6:20 to 7pm for jazz-rock from Ro Sham Beaux.

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