Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 06/14/07

Hi everyone,

This is the scoop on New England activities this week.

TONIGHT! Willie Nelson & family perform at the Cape Cod Melody Tent, 21 West Main Street, Hyannis, MA, 508-775-5630.

The weird event of the week is the Sandcastle Festival in Hampton Beach, NH. There’s also one in Revere which I’ll notify you of later. June 15-28. Awards night is the last Saturday, then fireworks. Competition is invitation only, looks great. They have fireworks at 9:30pm every Wednesday Jul-Aug, too.

Ladies of the 80s Sing-A-Long, June 15-16, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA. Basically, you show up, you dance in the aisles, wear a costume, sing. It’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show, but for normal people.

Also, I’m very excited about the Quechee Balloon Festival & Crafts Fair! I wish I were going. It is June 15-17, Main Green, Route 4, Quechee, VT. 800-295-5451. And you definitely want to sign up for balloon rides in advance. If you were curious, no, there are no balloon festivals close to Boston. Because balloons really cannot be steered, they don’t want to run the risk of dropping in on a building.

I’m not sure how weird this is. Have you ever heard of Car Talk, the radio show from NPR? Two MIT alumni laugh it up and have a surprisingly engaging show which is ostensibly about cars but is accessible to anyone. They are doing a fundraising and celebrating their 20th anniversary of being on the air. Car Talk 20th Anniversary, June 16, Cambridge.

Sometimes the best festivals are the ones where you get to experience another culture entirely. For example, there is a local Greek festival June 15-17, at Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 14 Magazine Street, Cambridge. I believe that’s Friday 5-11pm, Sat 12-11pm, Sun 5-10pm. Go, it’s like a tiny sliver of visiting Greece.

Also a German Festival that’s not in Ocktober, a nice treat. It’s Sommerfest, June 16-17, in Walpole, MA. It’s the summer version of the German Oktoberfest. Basically, you drink a ton of beer, but in June not October. Ethnic food and polka music. These people are serious, their New England club has been around for over a century. I’m sure it will be very much like visiting the Fatherland.

Going to the other end of the size spectrum, two apparently disconnected river festivals are this weekend. Let’s start with the Cambridge River Festival is June 16, Cambridge, MA. 617-349-4380. 12pm-6pm. Rain or shine. Along Memorial Drive b/w Harvard & Central Squares. Music, crafts, dance, poetry, kids stuff, and they’re shutting off the street so that’s totally sticking it to the Man! So don’t bother driving through Cambridge that day. Way to build a dysfunctional Utopia! Never mind.

As a totally separate event, and don’t think they aren’t competing for tourist dollars and nobody cares, Riverfest is a festival in Concord area. Boat rides, sculpture walk, river walk, music, canoe trek, scavenger hunt, nature walks. It looks far more interesting than the Cambridge event, but — it’s not really a festival in one location. It is more like 30 loosely connected events in differing locations. So see the Web schedule. 617-223-5225. June 16-17.

The Special Olympics Summer Games are June 15-17. Aren’t you special? Well, if not how about signing up as a volunteer, or just stop by to cheer them on. I volunteered once and it was fun, helped to personalize in my mind a part of humanity I’d never interacted with. Cambridge, MA.

I saw yet another charity walk last week, one that I hadn’t listed. Here’s yet another. Boston Prostate Cancer Walk, Boston Common, Boston, MA.

Three re-enactments are happening this week! First, Janeane Garofalo is re-enacting her time as a celebrity comedienne, in a show with Patton Oswalt. Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA. Jun 17.

More to the point, there is a Henry David Thoreau re-enactment on June 17, at the Concord Museum. Concord, MA. 11am, 12pm, 1pm, free with museum admission. Meet Thoreau and learn about his two-week hiking trip in 1839.

While you’re in Concord, they are doing a Town Meeting Re-Enactment from 1774. Basically olde-timey commoners get together and talk about British rule and independence. I bet that’s interesting! June 17, at the North Bridge benches in Concord, MA. 1:30pm and then again at 3pm. It’s also happening July 15.

Also weird, the Caffeine Dream and Ice Cream Sundae Afternoon, June 15 at MIT, at the Stata Lobby. Cambridge, MA. Sadly, it is not free. 3pm, $6.50/pp (incl. one sundae, one coffee, and one bottled water). Hmm, and potentially you needed to buy in advance… not sure what they were thinking, selling advance tickets to what is essentially a drop-by kind of event.

In terms of performances and other less weird things, Indian Ink is a play by Tom Stoppard, the fellow behind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and the screenplay for Shakespeare In Love. June 15 – July 1. Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston MA. 617-933-8600.

It’s flag day in Quincy!!! Yay!!

No seriously, what is Flag Day? Sounds like a placeholder holiday they haven’t named after anyone yet.

Anyway, Quincy Flag Day Parade and Celebration, June 16, Quincy, MA. They’re having a parade and fireworks, it might be engaging.

Billy Connolly is a comedian performing at Harvard. I’ve heard him and he’s fantastic. Jun 12-16.

The Provincetown International Film Festival is June 13-17. I don’t normally approve of film festivals (too sedate, and I’m allowed to have an opinion, start your own blog) but if it gets you to go to Cape Cod, great! I haven’t been in ages and would love to hear, besides the beach, what there is to do on Cape Cod.

Have you heard of Riverdance? You know, the Irish stepdancing thing with Michael Flatley (or without, I heard he was a prima donna and quit). Anyway! It is coming to Boston. June 20 – July 8.

Ongoing events I’ve mentioned before: Love’s Labour’s Lost to Jun 24,; Present Laughter, to Jun 17,; The Great Park Pursuit to Jul 2,; South End Open Market / SoWa Open Market, Sundays to Oct 28,

Heads up, if you want to sign up for the International Dance & Music Camp @ Plymouth, now would be good because it is June 21-28.

Also, I am running a live roleplaying game June 24, in Cambridge, based on Harry Potter and the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. Email me to get a copy of the blurb.

Hope everyone is well. If you enjoy this blog I could use a motivational email today! My tiny company is launching its new product, which by the way is an engine for world domination, um, I mean, gathering activities from Web sites.