02/20 THE GUARD CHANGES ON LANSDOWNE STREET
About a year and a half after the Lansdowne Street clubs Avalon and Axis were shuttered, the impressive 2,400-seat House of Blues opens tonight in their place, with French flamenco rockers the Gipsy Kings on stage. The new building heralds the return to Boston of a concert-hall franchise that began in Cambridge in 1992. It also completes the exit of club king Patrick Lyons, who, after 30 years spent running Beantown venues, sold his space to the House of Blues in order to concentrate on his restaurant ventures.
15 Lansdowne St., Boston, hob.com/boston.
02/22 THE CRAZIEST WORKOUT YOU’VE EVER SEEN
What started as a geeky way to spice up winter training at Harvard’s Newell Boathouse has morphed into a full-on world-class meet, wherein some of the globe’s finest scullers do their thing on ergometer machines. If after checking out the spectacle that is the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships you wind up inspired, stick around: The fancy erg machines are sold at a huge discount right after the sweaty scullers roll off them. "
Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, crash-b.org.
02/24 FRESH CLUES IN THE GARDNER CAPER
Nineteen years after the famed robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—and after gallons of ink have been spilled by writers fascinated with it—author Ulrich Boser joins the hunt in his new book, The Gardner Heist, which he reads from tonight in Brookline. Plenty of the story’s details are well known in these parts: that the robbery netted 13 works (including Vermeer’s The Concert, shown here), now valued at over $500 million; that the museum has posted a $5 million reward, thought to be the largest bounty ever offered by a private institution; that the cops have been baffled by dead-end tips that reach from South Boston to South America.
By the end of his reporting, Boser became obsessed with finding the purloined art. While the paintings remained elusive, he did manage to dig up a long-overlooked witness named Jerry Stratberg, who, as a college kid leaving a Fenway party, might have passed the thieves outside the museum. With Stratberg’s help, Boser fingers jailed Southie art thief David Turner, who (spoiler alert!) responds to the author in a bizarre poem that professes his innocence.
Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, brooklinebooksmith.com.
The Sox open their exhibition season today…without first baseman Mark Teixeira. New England Sports Network, 1:05 P.M.
THE BEST PARTS
THE HIGH POINTS OF THIS MONTH’S CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS
ART You probably know Shepard Fairey for Hope, his famous rendering of President Obama. That portrait will be part of the splashy Fairey show that opens 2/6 at the ICA, but make sure to squeeze past the hordes to check out his edgier stuff (like Obey Female Muslim, below), which melds Fairey’s street-art roots with revolutionary icono-graphy.
FILM The Hollywooders who’ve mangled our accent are legion. But in her new flick What Doesn’t Kill You, Amanda Peet pulls it off with flair. Without the cash for a dialect coach, producers on the indie project told her not to try it. Thankfully, Peet didn’t listen. Written and directed by Southie’s Brian Goodman, the film has garnered glowing reviews, but its distributor went bankrupt—a wicked pissah, you might say. While you wait for the film to hit area theaters, catch Peet in the trailer at whatdoesntkillyoumovie.com.
MUSIC During their 2/24 gig at the Paradise, Tapes ‘n Tapes will play their best tune, "Insistor," which features an opaque chorus about Harvard Square. The band says the allusion is to Good Will Hunting, but don’t tell—it’ll be more fun if you leave your friends guessing.