Forecast: February 2010
2/24 BERKLEE’S BRIGHTEST STAR SHINES AT GARDEN
Berklee-trained tabloid target John Mayer has become a big alumni booster in recent years, returning to Mass. Ave. to teach students the ways of the songmaster. Tonight’s concert offers another lesson for struggling six-string hopefuls (and one that school administrators might prefer they forget): A Berklee dropout with a few semesters of D’s and F’s can go on to sell out the Garden. ticketmaster.com.
2/1 The Boston Public Library begins a series of locally made romantic films with Starting Over, followed by Sabrina (2/8) and Next Stop Wonderland (2/22).
2/4 Cambridge’s annual Battle of the Tech Bands at the Middle East goes bicoastal this year, with bands from Seattle now taking part.
2/6 A gaggle of world champs compete in the 15th annual Boston Indoor Games—the city’s coolest track meet —at the Reggie Lewis Center.
2/13 The Franklin Park and Stone zoos begin a week of collecting Valentines. The critter with the most gets the coveted title of Zoo Sweetheart 2010.
2/18 Catchers and pitchers report to spring training. Let’s hope Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez sort out that 6.19 ERA their pairing produced.
2/26 It’s the first Brady/Bündchen anniversary. Gifts should be made of paper (but if you were thinking a deed to a new house, they’re all set).
2/1 KRAFT GETS STIFFED, REVERE GETS WINDFALL
Today is the deadline for projects vying for stimulus cash to be "shovel ready." Robert Kraft’s much-criticized footbridge at Gillette Stadium ostensibly was nixed because it wouldn’t meet the cutoff (of course, officials later admitted they questioned how it might look to hand over $9 million to the Pats owner). However, Revere’s long-promised Waterfront Square development is on time and in line for $22.7 million in federal funds to go along with $25 million in state money.
2/1 HUSKIES LOOK FOR SOMETHING TO CHEER
No doubt still stinging from the news that Northeastern is scrapping its football program, hard-core Huskies fans enter tonight’s Beanpot tourney seeking a lift. Though they advanced to the finals last year, the Huskies haven’t hoisted the pot in more than two decades. And winning the Beanpot has become a good omen: The past two winners, BU and BC, have gone on to take the NCAA National Championship. beanpothockey.com.
2/2 WILL UMASS START MINTING LAWYERS?
Expect the UMass system’s plan to launch the state’s first public law school to get plenty of attention at the Board of Higher Education meeting today. Though a similar plan got shot down in 2005, UMass officials now have significant political clout in their corner: Governor Deval Patrick and Senator John Kerry have come out in favor of the state’s founding a law school at the old Dartmouth site of the Southern New England School of Law.
Supporters say the school will give aspiring lawyers an affordable option, since tuition would be around $24,000 a year, or about two-thirds of what some other local law schools are charging. Early opponents of the plan include officials from private law schools—such as Suffolk, whose alums form an outsize contingent on Beacon Hill—who decry the cost of a new state-run school during such dire economic times. (Of course, the sour market for new attorneys might make an even better argument. In December, two of Boston’s largest law firms, WilmerHale and Ropes & Gray, announced salary freezes for first-year associates. And the Class of 2010 at Ropes & Gray won’t even start until sometime in 2011.)
Boston Takes Vancouver
Ah, the Winter Olympics—the time when our cursed weather grants us athletic advantage. Here are some of the locals to watch as the 2010 Games play out, 2/12–2/28:
• Michelle Gorgone, snowboarder, Boston Think Gorgone, who is set to compete in the women’s parallel giant slalom, looks familiar? Maybe you recognize her from the Cactus Club on Boylston, where she’s a hostess.
• Steve Langton, bobsledder, Melrose Inspired by an e-mail conversation with Olympian Steven Holcomb, Langton got started in the sport just a few years ago. A one-time track star at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, he saw his record in the 300-meter fall last year—maybe he can console himself with a medal instead.
• Ashley Walden, luger, Westborough Walden placed eighth in the 2002 Olympics. She later married luger Bengt Walden while he was competing for his native Sweden; this year, they both race for Team USA.
• Molly Schaus, hockey goalie, Natick As a freshman at BC, Schaus set an NCAA record for most saves in a game, with 73. In 2008 she picked up a gold at the World Championships in China.
2/5 HOW ABOUT SOME BIVALVE IN YOUR BEER?
In a pairing you never thought to expect, Harpoon today releases a brew made with mollusks farmed by Duxbury’s Island Creek Oysters. The beer, which will be sold in bottles and on tap locally, blends a briny hint of bivalve in a rich, dark stout—a taste that’s not as crazy as it might sound. According to Harpoon brewer Katie Tame, the combination has its roots in the old-school British habit of enjoying a pint while slurping shellfish.
2/9 EXPO PLANNERS LOSE HEADLINER
Though Apple may be a West Coast company, for years its biggest unveilings have been orchestrated by Framingham convention planner IDG World Expo, the firm behind the Macworld conferences. But as IDG staffers open the 2010 show in San Francisco today, they’ll be without a key component: Apple. The computer company, which is getting out of the trade-show circuit, decided to pull out of this year’s celebration of all things Apple—creating an obvious challenge for IDG.
2/17 NIGHTMARE ON STATE STREET
Today a judge is expected to approve a settlement of nearly $90 million to be paid out by financial services heavyweight State Street Corporation, which would close a class-action lawsuit against the downtown investment group. Plaintiffs said that State Street misled investors into sticking money in some risky places, including mortgage-backed securities—moves that led to more than $150 million in losses. State Street had long expected the suit, setting aside $618 million in 2008 for a legal fund in the wake of massive losses blamed on the subprime mortgage collapse. A year and a half later, though, that fund was down to $193 million, and in November the company put $250 million more into it.
It’ll likely be needed: In October, the state of California filed suit accusing State Street of padding charges on the state’s retirement funds by $56 million. In November, Missouri’s public school retirement fund sued over allocation of some $4.2 billion of investments. And in December, a Dutch pension fund filed suit over $56 million in losses.
But the biggest hit may be yet to come. Notified last June of a federal probe into the possible misleading of investors, State Street argued against today’s potential settlement, noting that—in a strategy that is either kindhearted or calculating—the payout should be delayed, as a possible forthcoming suit could net the aggrieved much more money.
The Campus Meet Market
If you’re a hungry performer looking to make it big on the college circuit, you’ll likely be hitting the Hub for the 50th annual National Association for Campus Activities convention, set for 2/13–2/17. For years, up-and-comers have played the expo, then booked tons of campus shows. Here are three can’t-miss acts visiting the Hynes Convention Center this month.
• Carter Twins The 19-year-old brothers are a record exec’s dream, mixing the tween-girl magnetism of the Jonas Brothers with the aw-shucks country appeal of Brad Paisley. Though they have yet to record a full-length album, their single "Heart Like Memphis" hit number 54 on the country charts last year.
• Owen Benjamin The comedian (and former Christina Ricci fiancé) was a correspondent for The Jay Leno Show and—perhaps more important for the gathered masses—is the star of several online series and viral videos, including "Shirtless Like McConaughey."
• The ArKanes This band delivers a distinctly British rock sound—always a winner on American campuses—in the vein of the Arctic Monkeys and Art Brut. A four-man band from Liverpool? It’s worked before.
2/22 BATTLE OVER PRIEST’S BODY BEGINS
The most powerful leader that the local Catholic Church has ever seen, Cardinal William O’Connell spent his 37 years atop the archdiocese getting pretty much whatever he wanted. Now, as proceedings open today in Suffolk County Probate Court, it remains to be seen whether his final wishes will still be honored, some 66 years later.
When O’Connell died in 1944, his remains were placed in a bronze casket and interred in a mausoleum he’d constructed on the grounds of diocesan headquarters in Brighton. In 2007 the archdiocese was forced to sell the last of that land to Boston College in order to finance sex-abuse settlements. But the seemingly innocuous plan to move the cardinal to the Needham campus of Saint Sebastian’s School was met with a legal challenge from O’Connell’s descendants. The family, which remains a prominent one in Catholic circles and includes interim U.S. Senator Paul Kirk, says neither the Catholic Church nor Boston College has the right to move the cardinal’s body from its crypt. The Archdiocese of Boston and BC have jointly petitioned the court to dismiss the family’s pleas, so that development can proceed.
As for O’Connell, he sounded downright unequivocal when he built his mausoleum in 1928: "In that crypt," the cardinal said at the time, "is the place my body after death shall repose until the Judgment Day." Well, we’ll see about that.
Our Young Gun
Rajon Rondo reflects on a big year
He’s a four-year veteran with an NBA championship ring. He’s a starter on one of the most feared teams in the league. And he just got a five-year, $55 million contract extension. Can it be true that the C’s point guard is still only 23? If you’re feeling like a comparative underachiever, cheer up: He gets a year older on 2/22.
• What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this past year? To work hard and be humble, and to have faith in myself and my teammates. The rest will work itself out.
• Between last year’s breakout postseason and the new contract, things have worked out rather well. How can 24 be any better? Twenty-three was a stepping stone. There are still so many things for me to do: First Team All-Defensive, League MVP.
• You’re playing with a slew of All-Stars. What’s that like? It’s important to understand your role and always be open to learning. Kevin, Paul, and Ray have all accomplished things in their careers that I also aspire to achieve, so it’s about being humble and learning from them.
• Any birthday plans? I’ll probably have dinner with my family, relax, and just prepare to play New York the next day.
2/23 HERE COME THE CHARTER SCHOOLS
All the political pugilism—Governor Patrick in one corner, school superintendents and unions in the other—leading up to today’s potential state board approval of as many as seven new charter schools will serve as a useful preview for November, when a ballot question calling for the removal of the state’s charter school cap could go to the public.
2/25 GLADWELL’S SPAWN TAKES THE STAGE
Cal-Berkeley prof Alan Schoenfeld’s research showing that an aptitude for math has more to do with hard work than divine gift made him one of the brainy stars of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Perhaps the educator took some marketing tips from the bestselling author: With today’s speech at BC on problem-solving and decision-making, he’ll offer a preview of his own snappy, business class–ready book, How We Think. events.bc.edu.