Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 12/28/06

Hi everyone,

Happy non-denominational capitalist gift-giving holiday. Here’s what’s happening in New England.

The weird event of the week is Bollywood / The Bhangra Year-End Party. Dec 29th at The Rack, The Rack, 24 Clinton St, Boston, MA. It’s basically a DJ dance party featuring films from India’s version of Hollywood. Bhangra is a kind of cultural dance, I think.

Not weird enough? How about Moby Dick – The Marathon? It happens at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, in New Bedford, MA, on Jan 3rd, which is next Wednesday. Get this. People gather and listen to a nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick. It takes 25 hours.

Still not weird enough? OK, how about the Polar Bear Club? Easton’s Beach, Memorial Blvd, Newport RI. Basically, insane people jump into the surf with bathing suits on when it’s friggin’ freezing. Awesome. Go to attend or just to cheer them on. There’s no local club in Massachusetts that I could find, but there’s another one in NH.

Holiday lights continue to at least Dec 31st everywhere, and sometimes to Jan 1st and beyond. I’ve been to several. Edaville’s is awesome, Springfield’s is number two and definitely worth seeing, I know Springfield sounds awfully far away but it’s really about 90 minutes, the same as Edaville. Lookout Farm and Stone Zoo (see last post, or Google it) were only OK and only worth seeing if you’re in the area. The animals at Stone Zoo were a great concept in theory, but in practice about two-thirds were snuggled up out of sight to stay warm and the other third were poorly lit.

Because I mentioned do-it-yourself crafts last week, my friend Joan recommends ArtBeat, the Creativity Store in Arlington. If you have kids, they can churn out good stuff that you don’t want to secretly dump in the trash the next day. They have walk-in studios on the weekends, but call first.

So, what’s happening New Years Eve and day?

Andrew “Dice” Clay is performing at the Comedy Connection, Dec 31.

The big event that everyone should attend is First Night Boston, Dec 31, Basically, you buy one ticket for dozens of dance, music, participatory events. It’s all in the Back Bay area (near Copley Square). With a little planning, you don’t have to walk too much in the cold and it’s a great time. You can skip out to go to a private party, or go to one in the Hynes, which is usually so-so.

Also, you don’t have to pay to see the parade, First Night Grand Procession. Dec 31. From Hynes Convention Center to Boston Common, starting at 7pm. Dress warmly.

First Night Boston is replicated North, South, and West of the city. North: Beverly’s New Year 2007, South: First Night Quincy, West: First Night Worcester,

There are so many bars and dance clubs putting on New Years Eve parties that it is impossible really to list them all. Pick up a copy of the Phoenix or Improper Bostonian, or go to However, since my job as an editor is to spare you the trouble, I have picked out which ones seem to be the sexiest.

— Spirit of Boston New Year’s Cruise. Dec 31. Commonwealth Pier, Boston. Call NOW for reservations. See the fireworks from a ship. 617-748-1450.

— The Resolution Ball, Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA. It’s a young professional event, which is secret code for singles, black tie optional, Boston’s longest-running New Years’ Eve gala, dinner included, cocktails, dancing. Dec 31.

— New Years Ball James Bond 007 Style, What better than to wear a tux or an evil spy dress.

Then beginning on January 1st, First Night Boston activities will continue, but they will be lame.

Also go to “First Day Free” at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. Apparently January 1st is free. The museum is weird, but good, and yes, they do have a garden.

Starting in January is the Independent Activities Period at MIT. It’s when students, staff, and faculty all volunteer to run workshops, classes, festivals, and movie marathons for each other. It runs all throughout January but you should check out the website soon because some events require a sign-up. It is generally open to “the community” if you’re not at MIT don’t feel excluded. Snowball fight, learn Tai Chi, participate in making the world’s largest matzah ball, or naming the largest number ever named. Or attend “charm school”, and learn your manners.

More ideas, how about going to a bar named The Liquor Store, to ride Boston’s only mechanical bull? 25 Boylston Pl, Boston, MA. 617-357-6800. b/w Charles & Tremont St. No hats, sneakers, workboots, athletic wear. No ripped, torn or baggy jeans. No shorts, sandals or t-shirts. 9pm-2am Fri & Sat. Expect long lines, so arrive early.

Last week I mentioned the Concord Museum and the National Heritage Museum, and then I visited both, so here’s the report. The Concord Museum is not really worth a special trip. The National Heritage Museum rocks, and it’s free.

Or drop into the Drum Connection for some participatory drumming. Brighton.

This would be a good time to pick up a hobby. How about learning glassblowing, see in Boston. Or learn pottery, see in Somerville. Or learn to bellydance, see, in Cambridge. Or learn to tie balloon animals, see in Charlton, MA. No, I don’t know where I get this stuff, either. 🙂

January 2nd is Gaming Night at Exploit Boston. It’s at Soul Fire, 182 Harvard Avenue in Allston. They bring: the board games. You bring: you. Come for dinner at 7pm and stay for the board games.

Speaking of games, there is always something super-geeky happening at Pandemonium, the sci-fi bookstore which is now in Central Square, Cambridge.

Have a great week!