5/12 – 5/19: Belt Sander Racing, Astronomy Day, Abe Lincoln, British Foot Guards, Open Studios, Vikings, Bird-watching, Ren Faires, & The Titanic Guy!
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The Week in Weird
|New England Belt Sander Racing Association||5/15||Boston Metro|
|OMG! What could be more beautiful than racing belt sanders. Actually, I’m not even sure that’s safe. But as long as you stand in the back you’ll be fine, I’m sure.
The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA. more
|National Astronomy Day & Kite Fly||5/15||Boston Metro|
|I also recommend this festival in Brookline which features rockets! And indoor kite flying. (Is that even possible?) And tethered balloon rides! Oh, and telescopes, of course. 4-10pm.
Clay Center Observatory, 20 Newton Street, Brookline, MA.617-522-5544. more
|Spring Observatory Open House||5/15||Boston Metro|
|The Blue Hills is doing an observatory day too, with kites and “balloon releases”. 10am-4pm.
Blue Hill Observatory, park at Trailside Museum at 1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA. more
|His Majesty`s First Regiment, Foot Guards||5/15 – 5/16||Metro West|
|My favorite national park doesn’t disappoint either, with a re-enactment of what it was like to be on the Other Side, the British side!
Hartwell Tavern, Rt. 2A, Lincoln, MA. more
|Abraham Lincoln Visits the Blackstone Valley||5/15||Rhode Island|
|A Lincoln impersonator and a train? You’d better go check this out right away. His anniversary is over and this might be your last chance for a while.
Train leaves from Amtrak Station, Providence, RI.401.724.2200. more
|Empire Strikes Back 30th Anniversary||5/15||Rhode Island|
|So… you can celebrate the Hero of the War Between the States, or the War Between the Stars. This event isn’t even large enough to make it onto the Providence Public Library website, but hey, there’ll be stormtroopers there!
Providence Public Library, Providence RI. more
|Viking Warriors & Historic Combat Demonstration||5/15||Worcester|
|The Higgins is going to keep churning out amazing re-enactment events. This weekend it’s trying on real armor, and combat demonstrations of swordfighting and Vikings. See their website for more and more and more this summer.
100 Barber Ave, Worcester, MA.508-853-6015. more
|Smirnoff’s ‘Sole Party’ Interactive Dance Floor Painting||5/18||Boston Metro|
|I’m not too keen on commercial events, generally speaking. And I don’t drink. But here’s a creative concept! They put out water-based paint, you walk through it, and dance on a floor that’s a portrait canvas. I’d like to see that! Also they’ll provide food and drink all night, and it’s free! To go, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org before Monday at 5pm and tell ’em Johnny sent you.
Ned Devine’s, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA. more
|Newton Open Studios||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Newton is getting into the open studios act. Because there are so many mansions, Newton is great fun to walk around. And you get to meet local artists, not just their vendors, see their work and possibly buy something. 11am-5pm.
Newton, MA.617-332-9967. more
|Lexington Open Studios||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Not reading the arts calendar very closely is a competing event in Lexington. 11am-5pm.
Get a map online, Lexington, MA. more
|Concord Art Walk||5/15||Metro West|
|Who’s idea was it that three neighboring communities would all have their art walk on the same day? 10am-5pm.
Various, Concord, MA.978-369-3120. more
The Week in Weird
|SOWA Art Walk||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|The me-too named “SOWA” district (after SoHo in New York City) is having an open studios, too. It’s a hard choice to make. I feel like SOWA will have more true professionals but they need the money and it will be more commercial. The Newton walk will probably be more laid back with more personal homes and fewer dusty professional warehouse space studios.
Boston, MA. more
|Birds & Bards Celebration||5/13 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Combining birds and music, this festival spans across Arnold Arboretum, Forest Hills Cemetery, and other parks. Movies, bird watches, hawk demonstrations, tours, and live music.
Various, Boston, MA. more
|Audubon Society Birdathon||5/14 – 5/15||All Over|
|Every year the Audubon Society has a fundraiser where teams compete to find as many birds as possible. I imagine they are open to newbies stopping by. It happens in state parks all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and possibly beyond.
Various state parks, All over MA & RI. more
|World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast||5/15||Springfield|
|This event is sort of made up but if you happen to be out west, sounds like so much fun!! Pancakes!! Boy, I’m hungry now. 8am-11am.
Main Street from State Street to Bridge Street, Springfield, MA.413-733-3800. more
|Emily Dickinson Museum Open House & Poetry Walk||5/15||Western Mass|
|Did you know that Amherst is an anagram of Hamster? And The Rams? See how much you learn reading this blog? Also out West, the Emily Dickinson museum has a commemoration of the anniversary of the famous poet’s death, with poetry readings and a walk. It’s free.
280 Main Street, Amherst, MA.413-542-8161. more
|Boston Derby Dames — Roller Derby||5/15||Lowell|
|I’m sure that Emily Dickinson would have approved of women behaving badly at this roller derby fight, which of all places, is in a Shriner’s auditorium! 5pm.
Shriner’s Auditorium, Wilmington, MA. more
|Stow SpringFest Celebration||5/14 – 5/16||Metro West|
|Festivals come and go, but how many have a silent movie with live music, a lego contest, hayrides, a Revolutionary War re-enactment, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Wow! Now that’s creative.
Center School, Stow, MA. more
|Annual Scrimshaw Weekend||5/14 – 5/16||Southern Mass|
|This seems to be “regular day” at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, except they’ll have tons of vendors of marine antiques. Isn’t ivory supposed to be illegal? Well, it’s certainly unusual.
New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA. more
|Rhode Island Folk Festival||5/15 – 5/16||Rhode Island|
|The RI Folk Festival has five stages and includes my favorite group, Atwater-Donnelly. If you like folk, I guarantee you will like it. Just go.
Peeptoad Coffeehouse, 81 East Killingly Road, Foster, RI. more
|Hampton Beach Tow Rodeo||5/15 – 5/16||New Hampshire|
|Do you like trucks? Rodeos? This event might be for you. Apparently they try to tow around heavy objects?? They’ll have a beauty contest and “Police K-9 Demos”, which I assume is when the police release dogs into the audience to tackle and bite. Should be great fun.
Hampton Beach, Hampton Beach, NH. more
|New Hampshire Renaissance Faire & Samhain Celebration||5/15 – 5/23||New Hampshire|
|And while you’re in town, visit a Renaissance faire! This one’s in Southern NH, not too far from Boston. It does look rather small in size. Hours are not listed but last time it was Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, with Samhain Celebration 5pm-7pm Saturday.
Thorne Road, Kingston, NH.603-755-9587. more
|City Stage’s 35th Anniversary with “Theatre Games||5/15||Boston Metro|
|They don’t say what “theatre games” are, but they do say that adults not just kids get to take part! Yippee!! I mean, um, awesome.
Franklin Institute Auditorium, 41 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. more
|Connecticut Renaissance Faire – Spring||5/8 – 5/23||Connecticut|
|Guilford is only a couple hours’ drive away. Make it a weekend and see this most likely bigger & better Ren faire! 10am-6pm.
Guilford Fairgrounds – Lovers Lane, Guilford, CT.860.478.5954. more
|The Titanic Guy at the Mystic Aquarium||5/14||Connecticut|
|While you’re in Connecticut, you HAVE to visit Mystic Aquarium. They aren’t boxed in by a big city, so they have an entire park you can walk through, with penguins and beluga whales, and you can see the sea lion show. I was just there and it was fantastic. You can even pet sting rays (pet animals named after stinging behavior? who’s idea was that?), and WADE IN THE WATER with a whale. Friday from 7:30-9pm the Titanic Guy is giving a lecture, too. No, not Leonardo DiCaprio. Dr. Ballard, the oceanographer who located the sunken ship. And they have an entire exhibit where you can relive the experience of the underwater expledition that found the Titanic.
55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT.860 572-5955. more
|The Mark Twain House & Museum||Jan 1 – 12/31||Connecticut|
|Not convinced? Here are some more great reasons to visit Connecticut. (Which is it? Are you connecting things or cutting things? Make up your mind, people!) After becoming the most celebrated author in the South, Mark Twain, a great abolitionist, fled to the North. Another victory for us Yanks. This is his house. I’ve been and it’s awesome. You get to see freaky stuff like actual slave manacles. It’s one thing to read about slavery. It’s really another thing to be like, oh SH**, MANACLES!
351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT.860-247-0998. more
|Dinosaur Crossing||Apr 15 – Nov 30||Connecticut|
|95S to exit 82. Turn right onto Rt 85, for 6 mi. A bunch o’ fake dinosaurs and a playground with walking trails. Mildly interesting b/c so close to Rt 95. Mostly a kids thing.
1650 Route 85, Oakdale, CT.860-443-4367. more
|Dinosaur State Park||Apr 15 – Nov 30||Connecticut|
|Now this is the real deal. Actual dinosaur footprints, plus walking trails, and an arboretum. I’ve been, and you absolutely must see this. It’s an enclosed space with 40+ real dinosaur trails, all encapsulateed in a museum and park.
400 West Street, Rocky Hill, CT.860-529-8423. more
|Nomads Adventure Quest||Apr 15 – Nov 30||Connecticut|
|This place claims to be New England’s larger indoor arcade. They have laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, bumper cars, a rock-climbing wall, and special events like Comedy Night too.
100 Bidwell Road, South Windsor, CT.860-290-1177. more
|An Evening with “Her Deepness” Sylvia Earle||5/12||Boston Metro|
|Enough with Connecticut. Now, back to the best place in the world, Boston, the Hub of the Universe! There’s no aquarium, but the world-famous underwater explorer Sylvia Earle will be giving a lecture at 7p.m. It’s free, but you have to pick up a pass in the lobby *(starting at 5:45pm) because seating is limited. She was the first woman to walk the ocean floor (at 1,250 feet below), and was named Time magazine’s first “hero for the planet”. Does that make her an interesting lecturer? Sure, probably!
Museum o’ Science, it’s Magically Delicious!, Boston, MA. more
|Kiwanis Club Carnival||5/12 – 5/16||Lowell|
|I do sort of get tired of writing about the Fiesta traveling carnivals. But if you haven’t been, just go. It’s hokey and sort of B-level but so much country fair fun.
Abbot School, Westford, MA. more
|Braintree Spring Carnival||5/18 – 5/23||Boston Metro|
|And Braintree.. Is it just the traveling carnival or will there be more?
South Shore Plaza, Braintree, MA. more
|Quincy Carnival||5/12 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|And Quincy… Is it just the traveling carnival or will there be more?
Faxon Field (Coddington St.), Quincy, MA. more
|Winchester Enka Fair||5/13 – 5/15||Boston Metro|
|This one is more home-grown, which probably makes it more creative.
Fairgrounds”. Where dat?, Winchester, MA.781.729.2628. more
|Avon Walk for Breast Cancer||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|That’s nothing though compared to how ubiquitous charity walks are. Can’t I just dump in some money without all the work? Still, it’s a day in the park. Gotta love it.
UMass Boston Campus, Boston, MA.800-510-WALK. more
|Boston Kidney Walk||5/16||Boston Metro|
|Wait one second!! If you had to do a charity walk, why not choose a super fun location, the zoo! Awesome!! Check-in at 9:30am, walk at 10:30am. Rain or shine. Um, guys, a lot of us want to sleep in on a Sunday….
Franklin Park Zoo (Giraffe Entrance), Boston, MA. more
|Emerging Americal Festival & Parade||5/2 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|As a lead up to some kind of festival, there will be a parade in Harvard Square at 2pm.
Starts from 2 Arrow St, Cambridge, MA. more
|Ancient Fishweir Project – Wampanoag Nation Singers & Dancers||5/6 – 6/7||Boston Metro|
|Also on Boston Common, near Charles Street, is this native american indian fish trapping device placed in tidal flats. This seems really interesting until you go and discover it’s just a bunch of sticks.
Boston Common, Boston, MA. more
|Brimfield Antiques Festival (Spring)||5/11 – 5/16||Springfield|
|Also commercial is the largest antiques festival in New England. Because the older stuff gets the more valuable it gets. Right? Am I right? Because I have some really old shoes I want to get rid of… On Rt 20.
Rt 20 at Rt 19, Brimfield, MA.413-245 3209. more
|WFNX Downtown Crossing Block Party||5/13||Boston Metro|
|It’s not quite time for summer concert season, but Downtown Crossing doesn’t care. Here’s the first in their series of regular outdoor music events. Have I mentioned lately that I track the largest list of outdoor summer concerts in New England? 5-8pm.
Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA. more
|South End Open Market Opens||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Associated with SOWA is this regular open market, which is similar except you get to meet the vendors, not the artists, and they make no attempt to hide the commercial nature of the event with a lovely urban stroll.
460 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA.617-481-2257. more
|Annual Boston Gay and Lesbian Film/Video Festival||5/6 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Here’s another film festival. I beg you, do something outdoorsy this weekend. Haven’t you been waiting all winter to get out??
MFA, Boston, MA. more
|Revels: Pub Sing at Doyle’s Cafe||5/19||Boston Metro|
|This is a heads up on the local participatory sing. They will sell out, so get tickets now.
Doyle’s Cafe, 3484 Washington St, Jamaica Plain, MA. more
|Worcester Group Sings||5/14||Worcester|
|And here’s one in Worcester.
Worcester, MA. more
|Jim Henson’s Fantastic World of Muppets||4/3 – 6/27||Metro West|
|It’s only a museum exhibition, not a show. But what an exhibition! I’d love to go out and see this exhibit on the guy behind the Muppet Show. And the entire museum is free. How amazing is that. And they have a lot of puppet themed events, too.
33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA.781-861-6559. more
|Banjo Extravaganza & Banjo Camp||5/13 – 5/16||Metro West|
|Gee, this looks interesting at the MONH too! Everybody loves banjos, and they’ve thoughtfully scheduled this performance Thursday at 7:30pm rather than conflicting with the work day. See the other link for info about the entire weekend Banjo Camp, which is in Groton, MA and seems to be more for performers than for ordinary music lovers.
33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA.(781) 861-6559, ext. 4101. more
|Pink Voyd, the Pink Floyd Tribute||5/14||Boston Metro|
|My favorite tribute band plays the music of Pink Floyd this week. I’ll tell you a secret: they are an undiscovered gem. This is your chance to see a performance worthy of Foxbooro Stadium at Regent Theatre prices!
Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA. more
|Phone Whore, the||5/15 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Are you curious about phone sex but don’t want to place the call? Here’s a one-woman show by actual phone sex operator Cameryn Moore. It’s sexy, it’s awkward, it’s life. Don’t hide from it! So, check it out. You know you want to. And if you spot someone you know in the audience, you can either refuse to make eye contact, or you can do a little air punch with your fist together. It’s your choice.
Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA.617-869-2970. more
|Big Apple Circus||4/3 – 5/16||Boston Metro|
|Although they have no muppets or banjos or sex phone workers (as far as I know), the circus is also good! I’ve seen it. Last chance to catch the Big Apple while they’re in town.
City Hall Plaza, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA.800-922-3772. more
|North Shore Folk Festival||5/15||North Shore|
|This festival isn’t very well described and is probably just a performance. Do you really need an excuse to visit Salem, anyway? Just go.
Old Town Hall, Salem, MA. more