Forecast: January


Sourpuss Edgar Allan Poe didn’t care for his Hub roots. B.C. is toasting the 200th anniversary of his birth anyway.


The First Draft on Deval

Remember the commotion last year over whether Washington Week host Gwen Ifill was fit to officiate the vice presidential debate because of the Obama book she was working on? That tome is out today, and despite its title (The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama), it’s not an “Obama book” per se, but rather an accounting of a whole generation of new black leaders, among them our own governor.

In her breezily paced chapter on Deval Patrick, Ifill is particularly struck by his come-from-nowhere candidacy in 2006. (“I certainly know that I cut the line by running for governor,” Patrick says.) But while her treatment is generally celebratory, Ifill resists the temptation to credit the governor with mission-accomplished. She quotes one very interested observer, potential GOP challenger Charlie Baker, admitting to keeping a close eye on Patrick. “People are making a mistake if they are presuming there is a trajectory here that is clear and defined,” Baker says. “I think it could go in either direction.”

Ifill, a Simmons College grad and former Herald writer, also interviews Patrick family members, including his generally reserved wife, Diane. Recounting the governor’s past PR missteps—like the plush Cadillac DeVille DTS that he ordered to replace Mitt Romney’s Crown Vic—Ifill quotes Mrs. Patrick seething at the Herald’s racially tinged contention that the car was “tricked out.” It’s all interesting stuff for Patrick watchers, if not entirely juicy. But then, Patrick is no doubt holding on to his best material. After all, he’s under a $1.35 million contract for a book of his own, slated to drop next year.


Susan Windham-Bannister, CEO, Mass Life Sciences Center

Illustration by Antony Hare

The point person on Governor Patrick’s big biotech-incentives fund starts handing out $1 billion worth of state cash this month. Here’s what else she’s got on tap:   

The highlight will be attending the inauguration. We’ll go down the Friday before, stay with friends, attend some of the galas, and just soak up the great energy. What does someone wear to an inaugural ball? My wardrobe decisions tend to be last-minute, but I’ll probably bring my favorite peach-colored Calvin Klein.

I go through six or seven books a month, usually a couple at a time. I read everywhere: in the tub before bed, on the plane en route to various board meetings. I’m looking forward to finishing The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It’s all about randomness and uncertainty, about how you have to watch out for things that are totally unpredictable. It’s especially thought-provoking, given the change in the economy. Who would have thought about that last July, when I took this job?

This month will also be my first chance to go skiing in Vermont, either to Sugarbush or Okemo. My husband and I started dating after a ski trip. I’ll do a diamond run to avoid being a wimp, but at this stage, I prefer the blues.- AS TOLD TO BRIGID SWEENEY


Frost/Nixon…and Zelnick

Hot on the heels of Ron Howard’s big-screen adaptation, the acclaimed theatric re-creation of the 1976 Frost–Nixon television interviews visits the Colonial for a two-week engagement. Students of BU journalism professor Bob Zelnick will be impressed to see their teacher at the center of the play. It was a young Zelnick, then an out-of-work radioman with a law degree, who was drafted for the job of prepping the lightweight British interviewer David Frost for his showdown with Tricky Dick. At the time, Zelnick called the spectacle “the trial that Richard Nixon never had,” and as a part of his gig on the prosecution team he formulated questions and then rehearsed with Frost by playing the part of the ex-president.
Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St., 617-931-2787,


Out Of Town News is On Deadline

When the owners of itty-bitty Harvard Square newsstand Out of Town News announced last fall that they would not renew their lease, the city of Cambridge stepped in to throw a lifeline. At the end of this month, that, too, runs out. The possible demise of this icon is a bummer, another blow to the square’s quirky, intellectual, locally owned character—or so we’ve been told. But it’s also worth remembering that Out of Town has for the past 15 years been run by an out-of-towner, the Hudson News chain, which supplies every airport in Christendom with glossies and broadsheets. And there is a bigger, arguably better (if less cute) newsstand right across the street.