Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 06/20/07


What’s coming up in New England? Here it is!

It’s Free Rides Day at the Boston Sailing Center. That’s Jun 23, 1-6pm, Lewis Wharf, Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA. 617-227-4198. Dress warm. No experience necessary. Large parties might wait an hour to get a ride but it’s worth it. They server wine, soda, and water on their river boat while you’re waiting.

The weird event of the week is my own. I am running a live roleplaying game June 24, in Cambridge, based on Harry Potter and the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. It’s a comedy game without a lot of rules but encouraging people to play magical pranks on each other and live out their power fantasies. Email me to get a copy of the blurb. At MIT.

Also check out a Bike Tour of Historic Somerville and Medford. I had no idea until now that Somerville and Medford were historic, except in the sense that any place any people have ever lived can be called “historic” by the visitor’s bureau trying to attract tourism. But apparently I’m wrong. Bring your bike at 10am, to the parking lot of Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue. The tour goes to 1pm, and visits the Old Powder House, the Isaac Royall House, and the armories and historical museums. (617) 776-3938.

Also weird, the Sandcastle Festival at Hampton Beach, NH continues, to June 28. Ocean Boulevard, Hampton, NH. 603-926-8718. You can sign up for art lessons (sign up beforehand), or just enjoy the show. They’ll have fireworks Saturday June 23 at 9:30 right after the awards ceremony

There is a bellydancing “showcase” which is a big annual dance performance and probably worth seeing. The Goddess Dancing Annual Showcase, June 22-23, Green Street Studios, 185 Green Street, Cambridge, MA. Bring money for flirting and tipping.

The weird just keeps coming. I’ve always wanted to check out the Western Mass Highland Games & Celtic Festival, which is June 23 rain or shine, 9am-6pm, way out west at Franklin County Fairgrounds, 89 Wisdom Way, Greenfield, MA. Bagpipes, fiddles, falconry, traditional games, dancing, pipe & drum, sounds quite interesting. Wear a kilt if you’re not a lassie!

Jun 22-23 is Summer Revels at the newly re-opened Boston Children’s Museum. It’s not just a musical performance; they have woven their music into a loose tale of 19th century sailing New England.

Every summer, there are a bunch of outdoors movies projected against buildings. Movies by Moonlight is at the Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston, MA. 617-439-7000. Coming is Roman Holiday 6/22 and Goodbye Mr. Chips 6/29.

And the WBZ Free Friday Flicks @ Hatch Shell begins Jun 22 and runs through Aug 31. That’s on the esplanade, the park on the Charles River just south of the Arlington subway stop on the green line. This Friday, June 22, Night at the Museum.

Somebody is doing a show impersonating Judy Garland. You know, the Wizard of Oz gal. It looks interesting, check it out. “And Now Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Judy Garland”, unsure of times but runs through at least now to July 1, Lyric State Theatre,

Somebody ELSE is also doing an impersonation, this time of RFK. You know, JFK’s less successful but probably smarter brother. RFK: A Portrait of Robert F. Kennedy, unclear when it goes to but it started Jun 6. Stuart Street Playhouse, Radisson Hotel, 200 Stuart St. Boston, MA. 800-447-7400.

What happens with conservative Catholic culture smashes up against Bright Gay culture? It’s the Provincetown Portuguese Festival, June 21-24, 508-487-3298 There will be a lot of dancing, singing, and even a life saving demonstration. Presumably they take someone who can’t swim, push them off the pier, and then rescue them. The festival concludes with the “blessing of the fleet”.

If you missed the New England Flower Show, consider checking out the Newport Flower Show at the Rosecliff mansion, June 22-24. I doubt it will be fantastic by itself, but there is so much to see in Newport! Do the cliffwalk, visit some of the several historic mansions open to the public. 548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI,

Speaking of Newport, I so so so want to do this one sometime! It’s Murder Mystery at Beechwood Mansion. They stage an interactive performance where you pretend to be a wealthy elite of the 19th century. You interact with actors and try to solve the whodunnit. Thursdays starting June 28, to October 25. Also Matinees most Saturdays to September. They also have Big Band Music nights and a Speakeasy re-enactment night.

There’s an event in Providence, RI called Waterfire. They have a small river that runs directly through the downtown area, and at night they light wood fires and make it a festival environment. Check out the Web to see what I’m talking about. It’s really just an excuse to have something to do on the way back from Newport! The next one is June 23 at 8:30pm.

There are two different car festivals this weekend! First, “Extinct Car Day” and then “British Car Day”, June 23-24, both at the Larz Anderson Museum.

I don’t normally list benefits because they’re too expensive. But this one looks interesting. Chefs in Shorts, Jun 22, World Trade Center East, 2 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA. Spend $60 and have the best chefs in the Boston area make a summer BBQ for you. It’s a charity for the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Another sort of commercial food event that I can’t resist, the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Party. Note, I went to one of these once and they were sold out, so buy those tix in advance. City Hall Plaza, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA. 617-931-2000.

Feel like doing some volunteer work? It’s a great way to make new friends, spend some time outdoors, and help others. Single Volunteers takes the usually covert goal of smooching and makes it overt, Boston Cares, Big Bothers, I mean, um, Big Brothers Big Sisters will even give you free tickets to local events, all you have to do is bring a kid with you.

Pleasant Valley Day is held June 24 at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It sounds like a mellow way to join in for the nature-themed walks, talks, or demonstrations.

Serenity, the science fiction film, showing for fansters at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, June 23 at midnight. Brookline.

The Peabody Essex Museum has an orgami exhibit where you get to try making your own. A good excuse for visiting Salem, and it’s a great museum in general. (I know, the Peabody Essex Museum isn’t located in either Peabody or Essex.)

As I mentioned earlier, the Capitol Steps is a singing political parody group. If you love NPR, check out their show. June 23.

Cape Cod Chowderfest is Jun 24. This one looks a little overly commerical, especially as it is taking place at a major venue, not a beach. Cape Cod Melody Tent, So. You go, you eat clam chowder. Then what. You can make a whole festival out of that? Will they have a guy dressed up as Sammy the Dancing Chowder Clam? Does Sammy know what’s in store for him in the kitchen tomorrow?

Not that you need an excuse to go to the MFA, but did you know they show films there? Yes, they do. Also, this summer, concerts. MFA Concerts in the Courtyard runs Jun 13 – Aug 22. 617-369-3189. Free Weds 4-9:45pm. Free guided tour included with admission. Film schedule at or

The International Dance & Music Camp @ Plymouth is for serious world music folksy people. That is June 21-28.

Ongoing events I’ve mentioned before: Love’s Labour’s Lost to Jun 24,; The Great Park Pursuit to Jul 2,; Riverdance, June 20 – July 8. Indian Ink is a play by Tom Stoppard, to July 1. Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston MA. 617-933-8600.

Heads up, Garrison Keillor, you know the guy from “A Prairie Home Companion”, the movie and radio show, is speaking at Tanglewood June 30th. A good chance to head way out west.

OK that’s enough frivolity for one week! Go do all these events and get back to me with some recommendations.