Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 09/04/07

Hi all,

You want weird events, you got it.

TONIGHT! “Raising Arizona”, a free film in Copley Square. See below.

What’s stranger than a conference of stargazers? There are two big ones in New England, and one is this weekend. It’s Anuna Hill Days, Sep 7-9, in Cummington, MA. A weekend festival for serious astronomy buffs but if you’re an amateur I imagine they’d include you and educate you.

The strangest this weekend will most likely be the Civil War Living History Weekend, a re-enactment at Fort Adams, in Newport RI, Sep 8-9. Union and Confederate armies will recreate camp life and you’ll be able to see military drills and weapons demonstrations.

What’s better than a zoo? A free zoo! With a Massachusetts state ID, get free admission to the Southwick’s Zoo, the largest zoo in New England, Sep 8. Those from RI, your day is Sep 15.

Also free! College Night at the Museum of Science, Boston. Free with a college ID.

Not edgy enough? Check out Raptor Weekend at the Aubudon Society of Rhode Island, Sep 8-9 in Bristol, RI. 401-245-7500. It’s the largest and probably only raptor event in New England. See owls, hawks, eagles in live demonstrations.

Ultra-edgy is Dr. Sketchy’s in Boston. Sep 9 at Great Scott, which is a bar in Allston. Bring your pencils and paints and make sketches of models who perform and pose in the burlesque tradition. and

Lowell makes such a big effort at reaching out to tourists, you really should reach back. This weekend’s event is dueling banjos, called Annual Banjo & Fiddle Contests. Sep 8.

Did you know that there’s a New England Barbecue Society? Now that you know, do you care? Well, then, while you’re in Lowell visit the Rib n Brews Festival. There’s not a whole lot hiding underneath this event. You eat, you drink. There’ll be live music, and the best BBQ wins a contest. Tsongas Arena, 300 Arcand Drive, Lowell.

Jackson Hill Cider Day is Sep 8. Basically you wander through their orchards, see a real cider press, and participate in apple bobbing, making wool from sheep, and tour the “the oldest surviving wood frame house” around.

Jamaica Plain is having their “First Thursdays” event Sep 6. No movie but there will be outdoor performances and a poetry reading. This event basically promotes the galleries, which stay open late. Centre and South Streets, Jamaica Plain.

The Charlestown Art in the Park Festival is Sep 8, in Charlestown. This is essentially a sales event, but you’ll get to see the works of over 50 local artists and meet them, too.

Another arts festival I am mentioning mainly because my favorite folk group is performing, Atwater-Donnelly, Sep 8. It’s the Codman Estate Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, with museum tours and over 100 art vendors, or

This arts festival has a confusingly big name, “The Boston Arts Festival”, with a confusingly small online presence. As best I can figure, it’s yet another outdoor local artist sale but they’ll have performances, too. Sep 8-9.

Probably the best arts festival this weekend is the Cambridgeport Open Studios. Open studios are a lot better than “art in the park” events because you really meet the artists, never simply vendors, and you get to hang out in their private homes or studios and eat their free food while avoiding the topic of actually making a purchase so they can make rent. Sep 8-9.

Nearby, check out the Somerville Greek Music & Food Festival, Sep 8-9. It’s the smallest event I’m listing this week, but sometimes these small events hold special treats and you’ll find people who aren’t too busy to chat with you and really introduce you to their culture. They’ll have a moon bounce but they say it’s “for the kids”. What about us big kids? Pout.

Going up slightly in size is the Brazilian Independence Day Festival, Sep 5-9, Wed & Thu there are film screenings, and they don’t say whether it’s in English or Portuguese, and the main outdoor festival is Saturday, Sep 9, at Artesani Park in Boston. That’s the park right off Storrow Drive as you head west past Harvard. There will be free music and kids activities. No moon bounce. But there’s a canoe and kayak rental next door for the Charles River.

Another local festival, but better produced I’m sure, is the Jamaica Plain World’s Fair, Sep 9. They’re also going to have a moon bounce, but add in performers and dance music on three stages. The event includes karaoke; I’m not sure if that’s a draw or a reason to stay away.

Every year there’s a free theatre festival which sells out right away. So get ready to grab your tickets September 10th when I believe they may be going on sale.

The largest antiques festival happens in Brimfield, MA three times a year. The next one is Sep 4-9,

The MSPCA Walk for Animals is Sep 9, on Boston Common, but also Springfield and Hyannis.

Another event involving pets, the Pet Rock Festival, Sep 9, at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. There’ll be pet competitions and free music.

The Wachusett Mountain Music Festival is Sep 8-9, they’ll have pop music and blues. I’ve been to this event and it tends to be more homey than the local art festivals. You’re more likely to find plaster Winnie the Pooh piggy banks than african sculptures. However, they do have a fantastic chairlift ride to the peak and you can hike all around Mt. Wachusett.

Just a trickle of free summer outdoor movies remain:

— Boston (Copley Square). The IFC free film fest is at the lawn in Copley Square outside Trinity Church. Sep 4: Raising Arizona, Sep 5: The Princess Bride, Sep 6: Napoleon Dynamite. Isn’t it funny how these free outdoor film organizers make it a big secret when the film starts? Hunt for it at

— Sandwich, MA. Night at the Museum. Sep 7.

Continuing events, King Richard’s Faire, to Oct 21, weekends only, Misalliance to Sep 9 and Romeo & Juliet to Sep 16, “Walk Inside the Camera” to Sep 14, The Three Musketeers, to Sep 9,

Heads up – the Ig Nobel Prizes are a serious of comedy parody prizes following the Nobel Prizes. You can buy tickets now, and should, since they usually sell out. The show is Oct 4 at Harvard,

Also heads up, get your tickets for Wicked, the musical about the Wizard of Oz. Um, witches. Whatever, it’s been extended and now runs Sep 12 – Nov 11.

Also heads up, Suzanne Vega performs at the Somerville Theatre, Sep 20. The musician was a hit back in 1987 with hits including “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner”, which is sung a capella. Also NBC’s Last Comic Standing comeas to the Lowell Auditorium, Sep 28,

If you’re thinking DANG how can I learn more about all these heads up instead of getting fed events weekly, you can download my entire spreadsheet of activities, which I just updated, at or if you want a seriously smaller subset but in tab-delimited form,