Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 11/16/08

This week I’m listing the region of every event, so you can more easily find what’s local and what you can get to on the commuter rail. There’s a great website at if you want to see subway, bus, and commuter rail times.


The Week in Weird
America’s Hometown USA Thanksgiving Celebration Nov 21 – Nov 23 South Shore
It’s the weird event of the week! It’s immodest to call Plymouth “America’s Hometown” but when you see what they have planned for the weekend before Thanksgiving it’s hard not to be impressed and want to go. There’s a concert Friday night, then the parade starts Saturday at 10:30am with a military flyover, and apparently includes re-enactors in period costume from the 17th century up to today. Fashionistas descend! There’s a food festival and another concert Saturday evening. They’ll also have an encampment of various military re-enactors, American, British, and a blacksmith.
Plymouth, MA.508-746-1818. more
Frog Pond Opening Day & Skate Performance Nov 19 Boston Metro
All winter, there is an ice skating rink on Frog Pond in Boston Common that is refigerated and open in warm or cold weather through March. For opening day, they bring professional ice skaters to perform, the Mayor will give a speech, and skating for the day is free! It’s a wonderful event and highly recommended. 5:30pm.
Boston Common, Boston, MA.617 635-2120. more
MIT “Kick Butt” contest for the Great American Smokeout Nov 20 Boston Metro
Sometimes all you need is an excuse to stop procrastinating. That’s why they’ve made November 20 the Great American Smokeout, to encourage people to stop smoking. MIT is getting into the spirit with strange fantastical machines that make a big production out of automatically extinguishing a cigarette. 12-2pm.
MIT, Building 13 Lobby, Cambridge, MA.617-253-4481. more
Battle of the Lawyers Nov 20 Boston Metro
This one’s sort of an open studios for lawyers. Are you curious what trial lawyers actually do and say, off the movie screen and in real life? They will show us in a series of lectures called “Battle of the Lawyers”. 5:30pm-8pm.
Millstein Hall Auditorium, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA.617-218-8211. more
Metropolis the Silent Film, with Music Nov 20 Boston Metro
An opportunity to see a silent films is very rare. Don’t miss it! This is a classic, perhaps the best silent film of all time, with live music. 8pm.
Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA. more
Water Purification Plant Tour Nov 17 Boston Metro
Have you ever noticed the water plant in West Cambridge? I have! They are giving a tour! It’s almost as good as sneaking around there on your own. Free but register in advance. 6-7:30pm.
Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cambridge, MA.(617) 349-4793. more
Imperial Court “Coronation Nov 20 – Nov 23 Boston Metro
There’s a local LGBTA group that has a masquerade charity ball to fight AIDS as well as a “coronation”, which is not described but is probably a gay pride parade king & queen or something.
Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA. more
Huun Huur Tu Nov 22 Boston Metro
From a country you’ve never heard of, Tuva, is a type of singing where one person produces 2 or 3 simultaneous notes! Now that’s entertainment.
Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA. more
Public Observatory Night – Salem Nov 17 Boston Metro
A number of local telescope observatories have public stargazing nights, monthly or weekly. Here are a few! You should always call ahead to confirm that the weather’s good. This one’s Mondays, weather permitting, at Salem State College. Call in advance.
Salem, MA.978-542-6452. more
Public Observatory Night – Brookline Nov 18 Boston Metro
Tuesday evenings, but NOT June-Aug, weather permitting, call ahead.
20 Newton Street, Brookline.617-454-2718. more
Public Observatory Night – Newton Nov 18 Boston Metro
Tuesdays 7-9pm. Or 617-454-2718. The “best telescope on the East coast” they claim.
20 Newton Street, Brookline, MA.617-454-2795. more
Public Observatory Night – Boston University Nov 19 Boston Metro
Every Wednesday evening.
725 Comm Ave, 5th floor, Boston.617-353-2630. more
Public Observatory Night – North Andover Nov 19 Boston Metro
Wednesday evenings, weather permitting. Call in advance.
Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA.978-542-6452. more
Public Observatory Night – Harvard Nov 20 Boston Metro
This one at Harvard is always the third Thursday of the month, and it always begins with a non-technical lecture on astronomy.
60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA.617-495-7461. more
Public Observatory Night – Museum of Science Boston Nov 21 Boston Metro
Or, every Friday evening at the Museum of Science, Boston. It’s free.
Science Park, Boston, MA.617-589-0267. more
The New England Fan Experience Nov 21 – Nov 23 Boston Metro
It’s a shame that this geek conference has such a poor website, giving me the impression the event itself may be disorganized. They’ll have panels, vendors, and costuming activities on sci-fi, anime, and gaming.
Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MA. more
My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams Nov 18 Boston Metro
As I mentioned last week, this event will be a reading and Q&A about the former presidential family. Free but RSVP to attend.
Social Law Library, 1 Pemberton Square, Boston, MA.617-226-1311. more
Salem Open Studios Nov 22 North Shore
It’s yet another open studios, this time being an excuse to walk around Salem, which is full of fun touristy and classy things to do. I would recommend particularly the House of Seven Gables and the Peabody Essex Museum. 10am-6pm.
Various locations, Salem, MA. more
Portsmouth, NH Holiday Arts Tour Nov 21 – Nov 23 New Hampshire
Portsmouth, NH is having open studios as well, but by adding the name ‘holiday’ they’re hoping you think Xmas and buy buy buy some artwork.
Various locations, Portsmouth, NH. more

Also Fun
Paradise City Arts Festival (Fall) Nov 21 – Nov 23 Metro West
This art show is commercial, but it’s big and worth a mention. I would much more recommend the open studios. Rt 495 to exit 24B (Rt 20W). F 10-5, S 10-6, S 11-5.
Royal Plaza Trade Center, Marlborough, MA.800.511.9725. more
Massachusetts History Book Fair Nov 22 Boston Metro
This is a series of book readings all on historical topics. Free.
Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.617.536.1608. more
Somerville Writers Conference w/ Junot Diaz Nov 22 Boston Metro
Are you a writer? A wannabe? This festival may interest you, and surprisingly, several famous writers will attend. (Now if only famous publishers would attend!).
Dilboy VFW Hall, 371 Summer St., Somerville, MA. more
Harvest Moon Fair @ Arlington UU Church Nov 22 Boston Metro
October is over but here’s just one more harvest festivals. I don’t normally list non-ethnic church events, but UU is pretty harmless! It’s small but has a big heart, I bet.
630 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA.781-648-3799. more
Casino Royale Ball Nov 22 Rhode Island
Do you secretly think you could be James Bond? Or an exotic femme fatale? Here’s your chance to find out. The only catch: you need to cough up $250 for charity. Darn those charities, they run such interesting events but they’re usually expensive.
RI Convention Center, Providence, RI. more
New England Punk & Metal Festival Nov 23 Boston Metro
This seems to be a real festival, with vendors and opportunities for local bands to strike a record deal.
The Palladium, Worcester, MA. more

Xmas Stuff
Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting Nov 22 Boston Metro
I cannot protect you from Christmas. It is coming. It is coming like a steamroller hurtling from a plane which was thrown off a comet streaking in to blast the economy with purchasing goodness and ho ho ho-ing. However, similar to Halloween I am going to dump all the Xmas stuff into a separate section for ease of ignoring. Getting a jump on the season is Fanueil Hall, which can’t even wait to Thanksgiving. Entertainment all day and tree lighting at 5:30pm.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA. more
Edaville Railroad’s Christmas Festival of Lights Nov 14 – Jan 4 South Shore
Also unable to wait is the biggest and best “holiday lights” display in New England. It’s quite non-religious, with Santa letting kids sit on his lap but also plenty of generic fare like Frosty the Snowman and a tip of the hat to Hannukah. I don’t think you’ll see Jesus at all. Come at night and take a 20-minute train ride, or ride the ferris wheel our carousel. They have 7 million lights, and fireworks every Friday night in December. See website for coupons. Daily. I’ve been and it’s a ton of fun even for adults who are kids at heart and like people-watching. Rt 3S to exit 6, Rt 44W for 8 miles to Rt 58 for 8 miles.
Pine Street, Carver, MA.877-EDAVILLE. more

Recurring Events
MASS MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Jan 1 – Dec 31 Western Mass
As a bit of filler here are some regularly recurring events. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) is continually surprising and modern, yet accessible and not snooty. They have tons of fun events as well that you can use as an excuse to visit. Highly recommended. Their new exhibit will only be available for the next 25 years, so hurry out there!
87 Marshall St, North Adams, MA.413-662-2111.. more
Springfield Museums (Science, History, Art) Jan 1 – Dec 31 Western Mass
Nearby in Springfield, MA are a set of museums side-by-side that are jointly worth the trip, in science, arts, and history. They have a number of “Family Science Adventures”, and by family, they mean your kids will love it and you’ll be bored, but at least you’re inside a museum and that’s entertaining.
21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.413-263-6800 or 800-625-7738. more
Amherst College Museum of Natural History Jan 1 – Dec 31 Western Mass
Did you know that the world’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints is in Amherst? How great is that! I’ve seen it and it’s highly recommended. And it’s free.
Rt 9 & Rt 116, Amherst, MA.413-542-2165. more
1627 Harvest Dinner @ Plimoth Plantation Nov 1 – Nov 29 South Shore
Plimoth Plantation invites you to join a re-enactment of the original Thanksgiving dinner, with authentic foods, table manners, and hymn singing. Nov 8, 15, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29 at 5:30pm. Reserve in advance.
137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA.(508) 746-1622. more
Shaker Supper @ Hancock Shaker Village Nov 8 – Dec 27 Western Mass
A similar experience is available at Hancock Shaker Village, but it’s a smaller attraction that I would only recommend if you feel you’ve “done” Plimoth Plantation. You get a tour by re-enactors, an authentic dinner, and a cappella Shaker music from the 1830s. Nov 8, 29, and Dec 27.
34 Lebanon Mountain Rd., Hancock, MA. more

Video Games Live Nov 21 Boston Metro
So strange I have no idea what to think. NO IDEA. Classical orchestras and choirs who have a sense of humor will play the musical themes from video games!
Citi Performing Arts Center, Boston, MA. more
Opera Boston Underground “Seven Deadly Sins Nov 19 Boston Metro
This group brings fantastic opera in ordinary venues, reaching out to those of us who are curious but don’t want to risk $150 and 3 hours finding out if we like it. You don’t have to dress up.
Lizard Lounge, 1667 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA.(617) 451-3388. more
The Merchant of Venice Nov 6 – Dec 7 Boston Metro
Yet more Shakespeare. One you probably haven’t seen.
Midway Studios, Fort Point Channel, Boston, MA. more
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nov 7 – Dec 7 Boston Metro
Tom Stoppard is sort of a modern Shakespeare, having written the script for the movie “Shakespeare in Love” and the play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”. Now here’s his Broadway hit about Eastern Europe, rock music, and history.
BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA. more
Between Jobs Nov 7 – Dec 12 Boston Metro
My favorite improv comedy theatre is hosting a series of nights commenting on unemployment, following in a long tradition of satire going back to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.
Improv Boston, Cambridge, MA. more
SPAMALOT Nov 18 – Nov 23 Boston Metro
SPAMALOT is the the Tony award-winning musical (2005) based on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the old British TV comedy. I’ve seen it twice and it’s a classic. You really must see this!!
Colonial Theatre, Boston, MA. more
Robin Williams Nov 24 – Nov 25 Boston Metro
Before appearing in a series of sappy family movie comedies, Robin Williams was quite edgy and good. Find out for yourself at this night of stand-up.
Orpheum Theatre, One Hamilton Place, Boston, MA. more
Einstein’s Dreams… The Stage Play Nov 18 – Nov 28 Boston Metro
A play adaptation of Alan Lightman’s best-selling novel. I very much enjoyed the novel, which is fantastic, but I have NO IDEA how they’re going to convert such surreal happenings into a play. May be worth checking it out. But definitely read the book.
Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA.617-57 MY CST. more

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