Forecast: January

Major Lines at Louis

Louis Boston’s famous winter sale is a spectacle of markdowns not to be missed, even—or especially—in this economy. The store starts by cutting the prices of its entire winter inventory in half; then, after a week, another 10 percent comes off. The savvy shopper will want to case the joint beforehand and arrive early on sale day: Unlike in most years, when the truly stylish are willing to pay full price early in the season, you’ll be tussling for those Balenciaga and Dries Van Noten bargains with the best of them. If you miss out, the leftovers get shipped to the Newton Filene’s Basement.
Louis Boston, 234 Berkeley St., Boston, 617-262-6100,


Last Chance for your Two Cents on Pike Tolls

If the previous meetings about the Turnpike Authority‘s proposed toll hikes are any indication, expect shouting at the final hearing tonight. Inspired by our forebears, some motorists marked the 235th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party last month with mild vehicular disobedience (like paying tolls with small change—that’ll show ‘em!). Could we see a harbor full of toll tickets if the measure is approved later this winter?
Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St., Worcester,


This Kid’s Not Exactly Reading Bedtime Stories

A few years ago Cambridge’s James Boice dropped out of college and started writing unnerving stories. His 2007 novel, MVP, was a literary kick to the chest and his new book, NoVa—an evisceration of suburbia that centers on a suicide—is just as startling. He reads from it tonight.
Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660,


Avoid Getting Cork-Screwed at the Boston Wine Festival

The 20th-anniversary Boston Wine Festival, the 12-week-long juggernaut hosted by the Boston Harbor Hotel, launches with a grand gala at Rowes Wharf on 1/10. Skip it. Seriously: The festival itself features some of the best wine tasting of the season, with vintners showcasing beautiful bottles, but the opening reception is strictly amateur night—what Restaurant Week is to serious foodies. Make plans instead to hit one of the less-overbooked wine pairing sessions later in the month, such as “Battle of the Cabernets” from 1/14 to 1/16, or the introduction to the Italian standout Brunello di Montalcino on 1/27. Then spend opening night avoiding the throngs (who’ll be jockeying to get their money’s worth with quarter-ounce-only pours of room-temp reds) by spending that $100 entry fee on one of these bottles at a local wine bar:
1. 2003 Ferrando Nebbiolo di Carema White Label ($85) at the Butcher Shop. Decant this sumptuous red for 15 minutes, and blow the rest of your savings on the ricotta gnudi ($15). 2. 2000 Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon ($66) at Troquet. Leathery and tannic, in a good way—especially with the crispy duck confit ($14). 3. 2001 Alain Voge Cornas Cuvée Vieilles Vignes ($99) at Les Zygomates. The most famous Rhône wines are delicate blends of 13 grape varietals. This one: juicy, unrestrainedly lush, 100 percent syrah. – JOLYON HELTERMAN

Bottom of the Ninth for Our Man Jim Rice

It’s become a rite of winter: bellyaching over the Baseball Hall of Fame‘s snubbing of the venerable left fielder. This year, after appearing unsuccessfully on 14 ballots, Rice will learn if he gets in on his final chance. In 2008, he fell less than 3 percentage points shy of the required 75 percent of voters he needs to back him. All told, he has earned the dubious distinction of having received the most total votes of anybody not in the Hall.

Rice is no doubt prouder of some of his other statistical achievements: He’s the only player ever to lead the majors in home runs, triples, and RBIs in the same year (a feat that won him the league MVP award in ’78). He also leads the Red Sox all-time in number of lives saved by rushing into the stands to help children struck by line drives (all right, it only happened once, but his nationally televised turn as a hero in 1982 should be good for at least a couple of votes, no?). Interestingly, some sportswriters have posited that the recent steroid stain on baseball could end up working in Rice’s favor in his make-or-break bid. The thinking being that as a bunch of cheating bums put up suspiciously gaudy numbers, Rice’s juiceless production over his 16 seasons becomes harder to dismiss. Here’s hoping.



The 90th anniversary of every trivia geek’s favorite disaster, the Molasses Flood, in which 21 people met a sticky end.