Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 11/22/06

The weird event of the week is the Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction, Nov 24th, at the MIT Museum in Cambridge. You get a box of supplies and get to build your own Rube Goldberg device. It’s silly techie fun. 12-4pm, Rockwell Cage at MIT (120 Vassar St). 617-452-2111. Advanced registration required, unless you just want to watch.

Also weird: the Sing-a-Long Marry Poppins, Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St, Arlington. Nov 22-26. 781-646-4849. Call for showtimes.

Weird and also a huge conflict with Thanksgiving: the Gobble Gobble Gobble Road Race, Thu Nov 23rd, at The Burren, 247 Elm St. Somerville. It’s a 4-mile road race for charity.

The weirdest ongoing event is BodyWorlds, showing at the Museum of Science. I find it disgusting but apparently a lot of people like it. And yes, the “statues” really are made out of dead people. So obviously taking kids would be a good idea, because they need exposure to dead people if it’s going to educate them. Fair warning: it’s a lot more art than education.

There is art exhibit called Medicine Wheel, which is a memorial to AIDS victims. It’s a room-sized sculptural installation, including a 24-hr vigil with performances on Dec 1st. I haven’t seen much but I would gamble that it’s cool. At least, they bring it back annually so somebody somewhere must like it. Nov 27-Dec 3. 539 Tremont Street, Boston. 617-268-6700

Avner the Eccentric: Exceptions to Gravity, is a comedian & magician. See performer site at MITAC discount for 11/24 show. Physical comedy and stunts paying homage to the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. Lyric Stage Company.

The Nutcracker is playing yet again. I’ve never seen it but I’m sure it’s good. If you’re ever going to see ballet in your life, it’s this or Swan Lake. Nov 24-Dec 30. Opera House, Boston.

Lysistrata is in its 2000th year running, even longer than Cats. It’s the ancient greek play about women who withhold sex from their men to prevent a war. Think it might work today? Boston Conservatory Theatre. Nov 30 – Dec 3. 617-912-9222.
The Diary of Anne Frank closes this week on Nov 26th. Seacoast Repertory Theatre. Portsmouth, NH.

Bored? How about taking an adult education class at the Boston Center for Adult Education, Or the similarly titleed Cambrige Center for Adult Education, They have a number of one-weekend courses menat to get you up to speed in photography, art, Spanish, or whatever. Also a great thing to do together with a friend, not that I’ve ever tried it.

Can anyone tell me if A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant contains any pro-scientology material? According to the ads and reviews I’ve read it seems to be a parody but also show some respect. That means that I don’t want to see it, but I’d be glad to be told I’m wrong. Anyway it’s weird so I’m listing it. Boston Theatre Works, Nov 24-Dec 16. BCA Plaza Theater.

It’s inescapable. Once Thanksgiving is over it is a Brutal No Holds Barred Christmas Shopping Season. And the “Christmas Tree Shops”, which are open year round, will finally make some sense. We’re about to get flooded with thinly veiled marketplaces dressed up as a “Crafts Showcase Event”. One thing you can do is rebel, but it won’t work. The forces of religion and capitalism combined will get to you eventually.

So if you can’t beat ’em, might as well join ’em. Check out The Enchanted Village (a Christmas display) at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Nov 26-Dec 31. Possibly too syrupy. But the lights & animatronics and probably fun, if you’re not stuck in line to see Santa.

Also the Quincy Christmas Parade is getting a 30 day headstart by being held on Nov 26th. 1305 Hancock St. Quincy, MA. 617-773-3317. 12:30pm. Free. Parade features Santa.

And now, some recurring events. Where’s the best place to go around Boston to shoot pool? Well, try the Boston Billiard Club on Brookline Ave in Boston, And next door is Jillian’s on Landsdowne Street at

Downtown Boston, try Felt at 533 Washington St, I’m also a fan of The Rack at 24 Clinton St, Boston, which is right next to Faneuil Hall, because they have a dance floor but the music’s not so loud that you can’t talk with your friends, and there’s pool to play so it’s not just either dancing or sitting around. At my latest experience at Jillian’s I couldn’t even hear myself think, never mind talk with friends. Also, in Boston there’s Kings at 10 Scotia St,

North, in Cambridge, there’s Flat Top Johnny’s in Kendall Square, at And of course, Good Time Emporium in Somerville, which has it all — it is the largest indoor arcade in New England. They have over 200 arcade games, 60 pool tables, batting cages, basketball court, bowling, food, concerts. And I just learned that for a flat $10 on Fridays you get unlimited access to bumper cars, go karts, and laser tag. 30 Assembly Square Drive, Somerville. 617.628.5559.

OK and where is there to go bowling around town? My favorite is Lanes n Games in Cambridge,, 617 876-5533. It’s right next to Alewife and you have to call ahead because leagues sometimes hog the lanes. I went to Milky Way Lounge & Lanes in Jamaica Plain and there was a super-long wait for bowling or pool, it wasn’t my thing. But I’m told they have Boston’s only karaoke night with a real band not a DJ., 617-524-3740.

In Somerville’s Davis Square, there’s Sacco’s Bowl-Haven, 45 Day Street, Somerville. 617 776-0552.

Finally, I’ve never been, but I’ve heard that Boston Bowl is 24 hours! That’s a big deal in sleepy lil’ Boston. In fact if anyone knows any other arcades or fun places open 24 hours please let me know but I don’t think any exist., 820 Morrisey Blvd, Boston, MA. 617-825-3800. 44 bowling lanes, pool, arcade, batting cages.

If you want all this stuff in a more readable grid format, go to my huge-o list of New England activities at I carry a printout in my car for spontaneous outings.

Who knows anything about Xmas Caroling to which the public is invited? Please email me. By the way, if I get anything late I won’t send it to the mailing lists but I will post a “late breaking news” on my LiveJournal at So that’s the best place to go for your last-minute weekend planning.

Senator John Edwards is doing a book-signing Nov 27th at the Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St, Cambridge, as part of a “Harvard Book Store” event, even though it’s happening elsewhere.

Heads up, STOMP is playing Dec 5-17 at the Colonial Theatre. I’ve seen it and it’s great. The Underpants, as updated by Steve Martin, is playing through Dec 3rd at the Quannapowitt Players Playhouse in Reading, And Bob Seger comes to the TD Banknorth Garden Jan 27th.