Forecast: June

| Boston Magazine |

PROMOTIONS
06/01 BIG NIGHT FOR CONAN O’BRIEN

The pride of Brookline High makes his debut as host of The Tonight Show. Only the fifth comic to hold the reins, he saw his achievement notoriously blunted when NBC announced that his predecessor, Andover native Jay Leno, would helm a lead-in comedy show (which Channel 7, fearing a stinker and hoping to launch a 10 o’clock newscast, briefly threatened not to air). Despite all the teeth gnashing, O’Brien has the network to himself for a summer’s worth of a running start: Leno’s show doesn’t start until September.

FINANCE
06/01 RATES HIKED at THE STATE’S BIGGEST BANK

The $45 billion that the federal government pumped into Bank of America to shore up the maxed-out financial behemoth apparently wasn’t enough. Now, you can do your part: The bank today hikes transaction fees as well as interest rates for credit card users. Longtime customers might remember a similar June rate surprise a few years ago, before their accounts were transferred over from FleetBoston. Longer-time customers, dizzied by all the takeovers, no doubt still weep for the memory of Bank of Boston.

HAZARDS
06/02 CAN AFFLECK TAME THE TOUGHEST PAR-5 IN MASSACHUSETTS?  
Filming in and around Boston for much of the spring, Ben Affleck’s
The Company Men is scheduled to take to the links at Lynn’s Gannon Municipal Golf Course for a shoot today. But filmmakers might be wise to avoid the sand trap on the 15th hole: The hazard reportedly was the site of a Robert De Niro meltdown during last year’s filming of the Mel Gibson flick Edge of Darkness, which led to De Niro’s quitting the picture.

 

FREAK-OUTS
06/05 TIPSY TEENS GET FREE LIFTS HOME

In an effort to curb drunken driving, Newton South grad Sara Shapiro came up with the idea to provide kids with free cab rides during prom season. Backed by a $3,000 grant, her project, Safe Rides, runs today through 6/9. Nattering newscasters (you know who you are, Fox 25 morning crew) cried foul and erroneously suggested the funding came from federal stimulus coffers. Now that Safe Rides has had everybody from hands-off parents to Barney Frank called on the carpet for abetting teen boozing, it’s worth noting that if the program works, it may be expanded. Is your TiVo ready for the outrage?

POLITICS
06/06 THAT VERY FIRST KERRY COMEBACK COMES AROUND AGAIN
When Massachusetts Dems open their annual convention in Springfield today, it will mark 25 years since John Kerry laid his political foundation at the confab with a momentous defeat. Then-Lieutenant Governor Kerry, running for Paul Tsongas’s Senate seat, lost the party’s endorsement. The blow became a boost: Kerry blamed the loss on "inside baseball," framed himself as the ultimate outsider, and rode his way to a comfortable stay in office.   

Consider This
Questions you’ll have reason to ask this month

Notice anything different on 128? Massachusetts will ultimately get a half billion in federal stimulus dollars for transportation efforts, but initial funding is limited to soon-to-be-infamous "shovel-ready" projects. So it is that Halifax-based Liddell Brothers, winner of the first of those jobs, is now tackling the hugely urgent task of…replacing about 400 highway signs between Reading and Lexington.

Will Icahn (finally) take over Biogen? Amid fresh rumors that a pharmaceutical giant might soon try to buy up the Cambridge biotech, renegade shareholder Carl Icahn is making another spirited run at taking over Biogen, backing four allies for election to its board at this month’s annual shareholder meeting. It’s no shocker that Icahn is also keen to have stockholders vote to reincorporate the company in North Dakota, where laws make it easier for investors to commandeer corporate boards.

How smart was signing Smoltz? The Red Sox are hoping hurler John Smoltz will be ready to debut with the team this month. For a much-ballyhooed pitching rotation that’s been a bit banged up in the early going, getting the 42-year-old star into uniform (he’s recovering from shoulder surgery) ought to provide a fortuitous jolt. GEOFFREY GAGNON


RECONSIDERATIONS
06/09 WHAT IF THOSE SALEM WITCH-HUNTERS HAD IT RIGHT?

The initial advance check Katherine Howe received from the seven-figure, two-book deal she earned for her first novel was well timed—when it arrived, she had $130 in her savings account. That debut effort, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, is released today. The tale zips deftly between the late 17th century and the summer of 1991 as the protagonist, a Harvard grad student, investigates her unique hunch on the Salem witch trials: Maybe the accused really were witches. Howe comes at the topic with significant expertise, as she’s a Ph.D. candidate in American and New England studies at Boston University, as well as a descendant of suspected supernaturals Elizabeth Howe and Elizabeth Proctor.

DOUBLE HELIXES
06/09 DNA DECODERS HOLD A PEP RALLY FOR PERSONAL GENETICS

Six years ago, it cost $3 billion to sequence the human genome. One measure of how dramatically the technology has improved since then is the mere existence of a trade show opening today at the Hynes Convention Center. Organizers bill the Consumer Genetics Show as the "first annual," reflecting the level of optimism generated by the burgeoning business. Local players in the vanguard of healthcare will be on hand (Harvard, Mass General, Pfizer, etc.), as will folks from Cambridge’s Knome, which in April auctioned off a full genetic mapping on eBay for $68,000.  
consumergeneticsshow.com.

RECKONINGS 06/16
Swindler Bernie Madoff is sentenced. That light in the sky above Brookline
is the glow of burning effigies.


TRADITIONS
06/19 EVENING FLICKS ON THE ESPLANADE  

Into its second decade as a summertime fave, the free film series at the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell returns with a showing of The Tale of Despereaux. The mouse-as-hero story begins at sunset and will be followed for the next eight Fridays by a mix of family-friendly shows.
wbz.com.

TRAGEDIES
06/19 FILM SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON A DARK DAY
Twenty-three years to the day after the death of the Celtics’ most infamous draft pick, his story is rekindled in the independent film Len Bias, released today. The sad end met by the University of Maryland star, killed by a cocaine overdose, came to signal a Celtics curse, and though the team ended its title drought last year, that hasn’t dulled the lingering fascination with the career that could have been. The film, whose local debut is yet to be scheduled, plumbs what did happen, featuring interviews with Bias’s dealer and the others with him the night he died.

My Agenda
Beate Becker

Director, the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts

If Arlington’s Beate Becker has her way, creativity will be the state’s next economic engine. This month, she launches DIGMA, a policy group to promote the Hub as a design hotbed. Here’s what else is keeping her busy.

Every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. from June to October, I meet up with a few of my women friends and we drive out to Walden Pond. We swim across and back, and then warm up with coffee in Concord. Pretty brutal for the first couple of times—but it’s the best part of my week.

With the school year ending this month, our time with Saya, the Japanese exchange student who’s been living with us, ends. I’m sure we’ll have more than one party for her.

Before she leaves, I want to take her to the MFA to see "Celebrating Kyoto: Modern Arts from Boston’s Sister City." And I’ll definitely take Saya and my two daughters to Brockton to see the contemporary Korean jewelry show at the Fuller Craft Museum.

At the end of the month, I’m going to pack up all my fabrics and jewelry-making supplies and head to Harrisville, New Hampshire, where I’ve rented a house and studio. I intend to spend a lot of the summer enjoying the "work of the hand." -As told to Brigid Sweeney

CARBON FOOTPRINTS
06/25 REAPING SOME GREEN FOR GOING GREEN

With $42 million in federal cash on offer for energy-efficiency programs, municipalities have until today to submit applications to the state. Any burg with a population greater than 35,000 is eligible; Boston alone has a potential $6.5 million coming its way, and Cambridge could claim up to $1.1 million. Stay tuned for exciting new wind-turbine controversies in Quincy and Revere.

TRANSITIONS
06/25 CHANGING OF THE GUARD AT THE BOSTON FOUNDATION

The Boston Foundation board holds elections to replace five of its members, including Reverend Ray Hammond, who’s been chair since 2002. A surgeon before he became a pastor and driving force behind the so-called Boston Miracle, Hammond helmed the foundation’s board at a time when its assets grew to top $800 million. Which means his successor—who’ll take over on 6/30—has some big shoes to fill, especially since the economy is no longer cooperating.

NUPTIALS 06/27
Sox owner John Henry weds Linda Pizzuti. What to get the couple who have everything? Their Bloomie’s registry offers some ideas.
bloomingdales.weddingchannel.com.

PUBLICITY STUNTS
06/29 WTKK HOST CRIES TYRANNY, GETS HIS DAY IN COURT

Conservative-radio yakker Michael Graham, who got tossed in the clink on account of a pesky red light and a revoked driver’s license, appears in Framingham District Court today. Never one to miss a trick, Graham refused the prosecutor’s offer to drop the charges and settle things for $200. Instead, the host, who says he was never told his driving privileges had been yanked, is itching for a revolution and wants to use the trial to blast Rachel Kaprielian, the state’s registrar of motor vehicles, for what he contends are the agency’s shoddy notification practices.

GOINGS-AWAY
06/30 BOSS’s LAST DAY AT ROSE MUSEUM

When Brandeis University officials announced in January that they’d shutter the college’s art museum in June, the backlash was immediate and intense. Since then, Brandeis brass has backed/stumbled away from the plan by delaying a decision on whether to follow through on it. But definitely not being spared are museum director Michael Rush and some members of his staff, who get the boot today—a move that can’t bode well for those clamoring to keep the place open long term.    

BEST PARTS
THE HIGH POINTS OF THIS MONTH’S CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS

EXHIBIT Opening 6/7 at the Museum of Science, the National geographic Crittercam show gives audiences the chance to see the world from animals’ perspectives, via cameras stuck to creatures ranging from a whale to a lion. As Happy Feet fans, we’re betting on the penguin’s footage to win the prize for most adorable.

FOOD The three-day Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl begins on 6/9, offering an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of ice cream at City Hall Plaza. Familiar favorites like mint–chocolate chip tend to draw long lines, so the smart move is to expand your palate. (A gem like Vanilla Honey Bee, an underappreciated concoction from Häagen-Dazs, would be a good start.)

MUSIC Violin virtuoso Andrew Bird’s new disc, Noble Beast, is full of intimate, string-laden tunes, the kind that makes him perfect for small venues. But now, as he’s grown in popularity, Bird is obliged to play comparatively cavernous stages. So as much as you may love the new stuff, expect his bigger-sounding, more-electric numbers (like "Plasticities" from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha) to be the ones that really bring the house down when he headlines the Bank of America Pavilion on 6/19.

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