— Nantucket Comedy Festival, Jul 28-Aug 2, Nantucket Island, MA. 508-228-1515. http://nantucketcomedyfestival.org/events.html The August Moon Festival in Chinatown, Boston is slippery. While promoted for August 3rd, I have reason to believe it is actually August 17. http://www.chinatownmainstreet.org Tip of the week. Here’s how to see bats. Near any pond at night, throw some pebbles or grit way into the air. You may trick some bats into appearing, who mistake the pebbles for flying insects. Tip 2: Always bring a blanket or chairs for outdoor theatre, movies, or concerts. That ought to keep you for a week.-Johnny p.s. Please tell your friends about this blog. Get it as a weekly email at http://tiny.cc/uYULq and see my huge list of 2000 New England Activities updated fresh at http://www.crossintotheabyss.org/johnnys-list.xls

Hi all,

This week is a possibly record 72 quirky events. And that’s not listing all the recurring stuff, like amusement parks and museums and beaches. Well, I list that too, on a huge spreadsheet. It’s a good way to keep tabs on, for example, the Bruce Springsteen concert August 2nd, well in advance. I’ve set up my computer to update it regularly now, at http://www.crossintotheabyss.org/johnnys-list.xls

Celebrate Shakespeare Day, Aug 2, 2-6pm. Boston Common, Boston, MA. Definitely the event of the week! I’ve been and it’s amazing. You can take a workshop on stage fighting, or see a workshop on projecting your voice, or even how to die on stage. It’s amazing and if you don’t go, shame on you. Also they do the Free Shakespeare afterwards, which is As You Like It, and it’s awesome. http://www.citicenter.org/shows/lists/details.php?showID=423

A number of re-enactments are coming up, always a great combination of festival fun and nalidge learn’n:

— Civil War Encampment, Jul 28-Aug 1. Wenham, MA. It’s a good week for re-enactments! This one is targeted at a kids camp, but I went to one of their events last year and I have to believe that it’s open to the public. http://www.wenhammuseum.org

— From Redcoats to Rebels at Old Sturbridge Village, Aug 2-Aug 3. Sturbridge, MA. (508) 347-3362. I’ve been to this one, also, and it’s nothing short of amazing. Re-enactors come representing 300 years of military history. Parade, fife & drum, camp cooking, cannon demo, kids activities, and a huge field battle re-enacted. http://www.osv.org/activities_events/event_calendar_more.html?ID=503&DateID=1103

— Battle of Brimfield – Civil War Encampment, Aug 2-Aug 3. Hitchcock Academy. “Blockade Runner” road race, fashion show, battle re-enactment. http://www.hearthfelt.com/civilwardays_august08.pdf

Davis MegaMaze Opens, Jul 31. Sterling, MA. It’s the largest and best maze in New England and possibly the world. Made out of a corn field and with bridges making it “3-dimensional”, you absolutely don’t want to miss it. It will be open through the end of October, when they’ll add non-spooky Halloween decorations. The opening ceremonies July 31st include skydivers and “olympic” competitions. If you call right away you can reserve a helicopter ride. http://davismegamaze.com

Ice Cream and Bats! Jul 31. Natick, MA. So here’s the deal. A national park is serving ice cream and talking about nightlife. Not clubbing, they mean actual animal life at night. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot Street, Natick, MA. 508-655-2296. 7:30-9pm. Registration is required. http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Broadmoor/catalog.php?code=618-BR08SU3&sancName=Broadmoor&getresults=long

Special Fireworks Show at Canobie Lake Park, Aug 6 at 9:30pm. Canobie Lake Park is the 2nd largest amusement park in New England, and perhaps my favorite. It’s so much classier than Six Flags, with an actual woodsy / lakeside setting and a less commercial feel. Although they have fireworks every Saturday throughout the summer (and a dance party every Friday), this one August 6th is their big blowout fireworks event. http://www.canobie.com/events.php

Drag Kickball Fundraiser, Aug 6. Provincetown, MA. Yes, kickball as played by people in drag. Awesome. http://provincetowntourismoffice.org or http://www.laurieroles.com/community.html

You Dance Fridays at the ICA, Aug 1. The Institute for Contemporary Art is the newest and trendiest museum in Boston. They are having swing dance classes outdoors, and it sounds like a great excuse to visit the ICA, which you should do anyway. http://www.bostonharborwalk.com/events or http://www.icaboston.org

Carl Davis’ Charlie Chaplin Mutuals, Aug 2. I’m pleased to announce that Mass MoCA, which is like the ICA, but bigger, older, and way out in Western MA, is having a night of silent films with live music! http://www.massmoca.org/search_results.php?st=6

Outdoor Family Night at NARA Park, Acton. July 31. No movie! Instead, balloon rides and an Elvis tribute band.http://acton-ma.gov/uploadedFiles/Departments/Recreation/Concert_Series/Family%20Fun%20Night.pdf

Tutto Italiano Car Festival at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Aug 3. This is one of many festivals they’re having on the lawn this summer. Brookline, MA. http://www.mot.org

Gardner Museum Summer Night, Jul 31. As you know the Gardner Museum is having late nights many Thursdays during the warm weather. Well, this one is apparently special, involving a DJ and a gallery talk, and is only $12. 280 The Fenway Boston, MA (617)566-1401 http://www.gardnermuseum.org/calendar/calendar.asp

Salem Maritime Festival, Aug 1-Aug 3. There’s really no reason why you should attend the Salem Maritime Festival, except that it’s a great excuse to visit Salem, which you should be doing anyway. Also, my favorite folk band will play, Atwater-Donnelly, 3-5pm on August 3. They’re truly exceptional, highly recommended. 174 Derby Street Salem, MA. 978-740-1650. http://www.nps.gov/ner/customcf/apps/eventcalendar/events/samaevent99161187.html

Salem Heritage Days, Aug 1-Aug 10. The maritime festival is just part of a broader ‘event’ that has a Clown Day and a Comedy Night. http://salemnews.com/punews/local_story_211225740.html

Salem Heritage Days Scooper Bowl, Aug 5. My favorite event on the Heritage Days Calendar. Basically you show up and eat so much ice cream that you freeze on the spot. http://www.salem-chamber.org

Newport Folk Festival, Aug 1-Aug 3. Newport, RI. Also a great excuse to check out the mansions and cliffwalk in Newport. The Black Crowes and Jimmy Buffett headline. Note: they do NOT serve a buffet at Jimmy Buffett events, and if you complain about unfair advertising they will throw you out. Um, so I’ve heard. http://www.newportfolk.com

Pittsfield NH Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, Aug 1-Aug 3. Pittsfield, NH. It’s only 1.7 hrs from Boston and there aren’t too many balloon festivals closer. They’ll have helicopter rides, fireworks on August 2nd, and a “cow chips contest” that I really, really, do not want to hear more about. Here’s a hint: always try to reserve in advance when you attend a balloon festival. http://www.pittsfield-nh.com/publicinfo/balloonfestival/index.htm

Beverly Homecoming Days, Aug 1-Aug 10. Beverly, MA. This kind of hometowny event is often worth visiting for a look at “real” New England. As well as the lame stuff like Bingo and a Baked Bean Contest, they’ll have fireworks, a classic car show, balloon rides, and a hot dog eating contest. Ladies, step right up. http://www.beverlyhomecoming.com

Gloucester Best Dressed Dog Parade, Aug 2. I am totally not a dog person but I know many of you won’t be able to resist 100 animals dressed up. 260 Main St. Gloucester, MA. http://www.capeannanimalaid.com

SkateBoston, Aug 1-Aug 3. Imagine a mob on a rampage, except they’re all wearing inline skates. This event is not for amateur rollerbladers, but if you want to bicycle and join up they’ll allow it. Meet at the Radisson Hotel, 777 Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA. http://www.skate-boston.com

Peace 2008 Hip Hop Festival, Aug 2 at 4pm. I guess this is one of these things where they try to make going gangsta less cool. http://www.cityofboston.gov/TridionImages/Proof_6_tcm1-1968.pdf

In Search of the Mohicans Quest, Aug 2. This seems to be some kind of clue hunt! http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/36949_in_search_of_the_mohicans_quest.cfm

21st Hingham Invitational Ultimate Frisbee Championship, Aug 2-Aug 3. Devens, MA. This is out past Concord on Route 2. I’m not big into sports but I just think I’d be tickled to see athletes taking frisbee throwing so seriously. http://www.wfdf.org

Pan Mass Challenge, Aug 2-Aug 3. Bicycle for charity from Wellesley to Provincetown, for cancer research. My old buddy Harrison found me, I don’t know how, but he found me! So I put in $40 and I believe he’s got me locked in annualy for life. http://www.pmc.org

Mixology: Modern Dance. Aug 2. Union Square Plaza, Somerville, MA. Somerville is always serving up artistic performances in their endless quest to catch up with Cambridge and Boston. This week they’re doing a pretty good job, with this modern dance event, which is free, at 5pm. http://synergydancecompany.com

Red Bones Annual Pig Pickin’, Aug 4. A southern-style hog roast and street festival to benefit charity. Live music. 6-9pm. http://www.redbones.com

Taste of Boston, Aug 4. Boston City Hall Plaza. Information on this is sparse, but apparently, you show up, you eat. I cannot confirm this event is actually real. http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/BostonMA/eventCalendar/TheTasteofBostonatDowntownCrossinginBostonMA.cfm

Feast of the Blessed Sacrement (Portuguese), Jul 31-Aug 3. It’s the largest Portuguese festival in United States. Madeira Field, New Bedford, MA 508-992-6911 Music, food, a parade on Sunday, 5K road race. Thu & Fri 6pm-12, Sat 11am-12am, Sun 12pm-12am. Free. http://www.portuguesefeast.com

Onset Blues Festival, Aug 2. The Bluff Onset, MA. 508-295-7072. http://www.onsetvillage.com

Various film festivals get in the way of enjoying the warm weather outdoors:

— Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, Aug 6-Aug 9. http://www.mvaaff.com/

— Roxbury Film Festival, Jul 28-Aug 3. Roxbury, MA. http://www.actroxbury.org

— Rhode Island International Film Festival, Aug 5-Aug 10. Providence, RI 401-861-4445 http://www.film-festival.org

Bruce Springsteen, Aug 2. One Patriot Place Foxboro, MA 508-543-0350 http://gillettestadium.com

The Fantasticks, a musical, Aug 6-Aug 9. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a good musical. Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. Journeymen Theatreworks.

There’s a Roslindale Summer Concert Series, every Thursday, for example Jul 31 at 6pm, in Adams Park, Washington St, Roslindale, MA. (617) 635-3911. Free.

Outdoor movies continue. The good news: they’re free. The bad news: they apparently can’t figure out when “dusk” might happen and don’t usually list showtimes:

— Boston, MA. Movies by Moonlight at the Boston Harbor Hotel. August 1. “Planet of the Apes (1968)”. At dusk. 617-439-7000. http://www.bhh.com/special_eventcal.htm

— Boston, MA. Mayor Menino’s Monday Night Movies in Boston, Aug 4. “The Goonies”. At “dusk”. Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA. Franklin Park – The Playstead. http://www.cityofboston.gov/calendar/

— Boston, MA. WBZ Free Friday Flicks @ Hatch Shell. Aug 1. “Surfs Up”. At “sundown”. 617-787-7200. Call hotline for cancellation info. http://www.mass.gov/dcr/hatch_events.htm

— Cambridge, MA. Family Night in the Park. Aug 6. “10,000 BC”, with a juggler beforehand. Sennott Park (Rain site: Area Youth IV Center). 617-349-6200. 7pm preshow then 8pm movie. http://www.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/FamilyNights.pdf

— Dorchester, MA. Neponset River Greenway Festival & Movie Series. “Evan Almighty”. July 31 at Pope John Paul II Park, Dorchester. August 5, “Surfs Up”, Martini Shell, Hyde Park. 617-542-7696. All movies begin at sunset, around 7:30-8pm. http://www.bostonnatural.org

— Revere, MA. National Night Out, including an unknown movie. 5:30-10pm at the Garfield School. Note the lack of telling us which movie at http://www.myrecdept.com/forms/1824_s8.pdf and http://www.myrecdept.com/ma/revere/default2.asp

— Beverly, MA. Aug 3. “Gremlins”. 8:15pm. http://www.beverlyhomecoming.com/calendar.html

— Salem, MA. Aug 1 (“The Beatles: A Hard Days Night”) and Aug 7 (??). Movie on the Common, After Dark, 8:30 p.m., Salem Common. Title TBD, http://www.cityofsalem.net/departments/scserv/recreation/outdoorfilms.pdf and http://salemnews.com/punews/local_story_211225740.html

— Scituate, MA. Scituate Recreation’s Outdoor Movie Night. Aug 1. “Cars”. cituate, MA. 781-545-8738. http://www.town.scituate.ma.us/rec/summer08.pdf

— Somerville, MA. City of Somerville Annual Movie Series. Jul 31. “Citizen Kane”. At “dusk”. Seven Hills Park, Davis Square, Somerville, MA. 617-666-3311. http://www.somervillema.gov/cos_content/documents/SomerMovie%20Poster%2020081.pdf

— Someville, MA. Movies on the Mystic @ Assembly Square. Aug 3: “Antz”. Films start at dusk, approximately 8:30pm. Bring your beach or lounge chairs to the lot adjacent to Assembly Square (behind Assembly Square Marketplace parking lot. http://www.assemblysquare.com

— Weymouth, MA. Weymouth Summer Outdoor Movies. Jul 31. 6:30pm. “Wayne from Maine”. http://www.weymouth.ma.us/news/news.asp?id=10117

— Falmouth, MA. Wednesday Movies Under the Stars. Aug 6, “Surfs Up”. Peg Noonan Park, Main Street, Falmouth, MA. 508-487-3424. At dusk. http://www.falmouthchamber.com/more/calendar/event/909

— Onset, MA. Onset Bay Movie Co. Jul 31, “Shrek III”. The Bandshell, behind 197 Onset Avenue, Onset, MA. 508-295-9026. http://www.myspace.com/obmco

Outdoor theatre:

— Shakespeare on the Common – As You Like It. Jul 16-Aug 3. Boston Metro. Boston Common. Boston, MA. 617-532-1252. Free. I saw it this year and it was great!! Please go! At the Parade Grounds on Boston Common, near Beacon & Charles. Rent a chair for $5. http://www.freeshakespeare.org

— The Seagull, by Anton Chekhov, to Sep 7, and Hay Fever, by Noel Coward, July 24 – Sep 14. Boston MA. http://www.publicktheatre.com

— Love’s Labour Lost, Aug 1-Aug 3. Fri 5pm, Sat 2:45pm, Sun 1:30pm. Free. Winthrop Park, JFK Street in Harvard Square, (Between Winthrop St. and Mt. Auburn St.) Outdoor theatre http://actorsshakespeareproject.org/season3/loveslabours_revival.html

— New England Shakespeare – The Comedie of Errors, to Aug 16. Sturbridge, MA. Sturbridge Town Common. 2pm, and Revere on the lawn of the American Legion Building, Thu 8/9, Fri 8/10 @ 6pm. And Robbins Farm Park, Arlington, 8/12 @ 5pm. http://www.newenglandshakespeare.org

— Much Ado About Nothing, to Aug 16, Lowell, MA. http://www.newenglandshakespeare.org/summer_performance_schedule.htm
Yet more outdoor music series:

— Improv on the Bricks. Aug 9-10. Improv comedy. Salem Theatre Company Free Outdoor Performance, 3:30-4:30p.m., Derby Square. 978-790-8546. http://www.salemtheatre.com

Continuing events:

— George’s Island Kite Day, to Aug 31, http://www.bostonislands.org/events_results.asp

— Stargazing at Notchview, Aug 1, Windsor, MA. http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/37267_stargazing_at_notchview.cfm

— Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the Salem Cross Inn, to Sep 19, West Brookfield, MA, http://www.salemcrossinn.com

— Yankee Homecoming Festival, to Aug 3. Newburyport, MA. http://www.yankeehomecoming.com

— Woods Hole Film Festival, to Aug 2. Woods Hole, MA, http://www.woodsholefilmfestival.org

— Waterfire, to Nov 11, Providence Place, Providence, RI. 401 751-1221. http://www.waterfire.com

— Longfellow Family Sundays Art in the Park, Sundays to Aug 31, 1-4pm, Cambridge. http://www.nps.gov/long

— Folk dancing in Copley Square, to Aug 26, 7:30pm-10pm on Tuesdays, http://www.facone.org/programs/program/bythefountain.htm

— Murder Mystery & Evening With the Astors @ Beechwood Mansion, to Oct 30, http://www.astorsbeechwood.com

— Circus Smirkus, to Aug 3, http://www.smirkus.org/htm/tour/tourschedule.html

Feel like traveling? Here are some excuses to spend a weekend away in New England:

— Maine Lobster Festival, Jul 30-Aug 3. Rockland, ME. Nearly 4 hours from Boston. We hear Maine has many babes. Oh wait, many TREES. Sorry. http://www.mainelobsterfestival.com

— Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, Aug 1-Aug 2. Chilly Ranch, Albany, VT. Come camp for a whole weekend for this world music festival. No actual kings will be present. http://www.nekmf.com

— ConnectiCon, Aug 1-Aug 3. Connecticut Convention Center on Columbus Blvd Hartford, CT. It’s a broad all-inclusive fandom convention, with anime, gaming, web-comics, science-fiction, fantasy and more. http://www.connecticon.org

— Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Aug 1-Aug 3. Kingsland Bay State Park Ferrisburgh, Vermont. 877-850-0206. http://www.cvfest.org

— East Sandwich Blueberry Festival, Aug 2, Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen, 6 Discovery Hill Road East, East Sandwich, MA. http://www.thorntonburgess.org/Special%20Events.htm