March 2010: Forecast

The month in preview.

COMEBACK
3/6 EMERSON RESCUES A DOWNTOWN GEM

The curtain goes up tonight on the first production at the new Paramount Theatre, the art deco stalwart saved by Emerson College as part of its $70 million renovation plan for the Theater District. A show inspired by 1930s German cabaret, A Night in Berlin harkens back to the movie house’s opening 78 years ago—a delightful alternative to paying homage to the Paramount’s more-recent incarnation as a Combat Zone porn theater, before it shuttered in 1976. celebrityseries.org.

NEWS
3/1
Andover’s Jay Leno reclaims The Tonight Show, ending a year of bickering begun when Channel 7 threatened not to air Leno’s now-defunct 10 p.m. show.

CONTROVERSY
3/1 IS CAPE WIND’S FATE FINALLY AT HAND?

In January the Obama administration set today as the deadline for resolving the epic battle over Cape Wind. As you’ll recall (unless you’ve been stuck in a coal mine for the past 10 years), the proposal for the country’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound has pitted clean-energy advocates against local Native American groups as well as deep-pocketed denizens of the Cape and Islands who consider the windmills an abomination.
Earlier this year, at the behest of two Wampanoag tribes, the National Park Service declared Nantucket Sound eligible for status as a national historic landmark, a label that would shut the door on any sort of wind farm. It now falls to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to decide whether the project moves forward anyway.
In addition, wind farm opponents have retained no fewer than three DC lobbying firms to help argue that the project could easily be moved to an alternative location. Yet nothing can replace their most powerful ally, Ted Kennedy, who fought strenuously against Cape Wind and even penned a letter to the president shortly before his death voicing concern over the windmills. For the Obama administration, the issue has set up a true test of allegiance: whether to implement the president’s green-energy policy or honor the wishes of a man whose endorsement helped bring Obama to power in the first place.

FILM
3/4 GLOUCESTER’S PREGNANT TEENS, TAKE TWO

Hot on the heels of Lifetime’s fictionalized drama The Pregnancy Pact comes the investigative (and comparatively less upbeat) documentary The Gloucester 18, screening tonight at Cambridge’s Kendall Square Cinema. Produced by Lynnfield director John Michael Williams and former Gloucester Daily Times reporter Kristen Grieco, this take on the 2008 pregnancy scandal challenges the notion that the teens involved were universally thrilled to be pregnant, and reportedly reveals that a third of the much-talked-about pregnancies were ultimately terminated.

REINFORCEMENTS
3/5 HOW THE PATS MAY WIN BY LOSING

After New England’s first-round playoff loss, it seemed as if everyone was hustling to pen the eulogy for the "Patriots Dynasty." But the defeat could actually help ensure the dynasty lives on: New NFL rules limit the ability of the top eight teams to sign free agents, allowing the rest of the league to spend at will (hear that, Bob?) when the free-agent market opens today.

3/6 Cofounded by drummer and Needham resident Joey Baron, the first Boston Jewish Music Festival kicks off tonight—headlined by non-Jewish klezmer master Don Byron.

Romney as Writer
The former governor and presidential hopeful chats about his new book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, out on 3/2.
In making your argument for how America can stay strong, you’ve got some tough talk in this book.Well, there’s no reason to pull punches. I recognize there are topics in here that people would tell me not to touch. They would say, for example, that I shouldn’t take on the problems in the teacher union leadership; they would be concerned with my pointing out that my generation could end up becoming the worst generation. This is about doing my best to speak the truth.
Are we witnessing a Republican resurgence in the Bay State?Scott Brown’s election and Charlie Baker’s momentum prove the truth of my dad’s favorite maxim: "There is nothing as vulnerable as entrenched success." When a party becomes so intoxicated with its power that it forgets the people, the door is opened for new leaders.
You sold your home in Belmont, right?My residence is still the Bay State. We have a condominium under contract in Belmont. It’s just being completed. It’s the right size for a couple who no longer have kids at home.

3/12 The Bayside Expo’s World of Wheels features a trio of testosterone: drag racing, live wrestling, and the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler.

HEAD COUNT
3/15 CENSUS MARKS A FIRST-EVER TALLY

Forms begin arriving in mailboxes today for the 2010 census, the first in which the government will gather data on same-sex marriages and households. Gay activists had long pressed for this change, arguing it would be helpful not only in understanding who makes up the gay community, but also in sizing up that community’s prevalence (and thus, political power).
Last September the Census Bureau offered a preview of the findings it expects, releasing a survey of more than half a million gays sampled from around the country, a tally that showed 27 percent were in marriagelike relationships. Yet the census itself might also tell the gay community something it doesn’t know. A study released last year by UMass professors working with a UCLA research group found that the poverty rate for children with same-sex parents was 20 percent—which is more than twice as high as for children with heterosexual parents. Such data could erode the stereotype of the affluent gay couple and might also give gay-marriage opponents fresh ammunition against Massachusetts’ embrace of same-sex nuptials. Recall that a measure to ban gay marriage nearly found its way onto a statewide ballot in 2008, and same-sex marriage opponents are already considering a legal challenge in 2012.

DEADLINE
3/16 SO YOU WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER…

This year’s deadline for applying to the Boston Fire Department is today. Given the perilous state of contract talks, it’s a safe bet the jakes are paying close attention to their applicants. Riding good press on account of going a full year without a single fire death in Boston (the first time in almost four decades), the department would hate to lose that leverage if, say, some newbie got caught dealing drugs.

TRADITION
3/17 IS THIS THE END OF THE EVACUATION ERA?

Those lucky enough to have today off for Evacuation Day would be wise to cherish it. Commemorating the British army’s evacuation of Boston in 1776, the holiday narrowly survived elimination on Beacon Hill last June. The cash-tight legislature has little love for Bunker Hill Day (6/17), either, and now that Governor Patrick is on board with ending the two holidays, perhaps we can expect a rowdy Irish wake in their honor tonight at State House watering hole the 21st Amendment.

3/21 North End comedy troupe Improv Asylum debuts its musical You’re a Good Man, Scott Brown, the tale of a folksy truck-driving fellow who stole our hearts.

Beantown Bruisers
Few local pugilists are as feared as John "Doomsday" Howard, an ultimate fighter looking for his fourth UFC win on 3/12. Still, he’s got a long way to go to join the ranks of our favorite brawlers.

John L. Sullivan
  The Roxbury-born "Boston Strong Boy" was the last bare-knuckle champ and the first gloved one, holding the title through 200 professional fights from 1882 onward. That record doesn’t include his streak against countless amateurs who took him up on his $1,000 challenge to last four rounds.
Terry O’Reilly
  The Bruins goon known as "Bloody" O’Reilly spent more than 2,000 minutes in the penalty box on account of his tendency to get physical. In his most famous altercation, O’Reilly scaled the glass at Madison Square Garden and entered the stands to do battle with a Rangers fan.
Sam Langford
  Nicknamed "the Boston Bonecrusher," this black boxer from Cambridge could have won the heavyweight title if he’d ever been given the chance, but white fighters around the turn of the 20th century ignored him. (Jack Dempsey admitted as much in his autobiography, saying, "I was afraid of Sam Langford.")

3/21
Move over, Fluff Festival. The first-ever Kimchi Festival in West Roxbury enters the running for the most bizarre hipster-foodie event of the year.

3/22 A Harvard Business School panel featuring Vogue editor Anna Wintour and designer Michael Kors chats about healthy lifestyles in fashion.

TELEVISION
3/22 BRAINIAC BUZZES IN FOR QUIZ-SHOW DUTY

WGBH begins airing High School Quiz Show, ensuring embarrassing video memories for hundreds of the region’s future leaders. Here’s hoping it will also make a household name out of the host, comedian and owner of two MIT degrees Dhaya Lakshminarayanan (that’s pronounced "LAKSH-min-ah RAY-ah-nan").

RETAIL
3/26 NORDSTROM EXPANDS IN SPITE OF THREADBARE MARKET

Continuing its quest to tap the Boston market, Nordstrom opens its fourth store in the region, this one in Braintree, just three years after debuting its first, in Natick. Unfortunately for the Seattle-based department store giant, it arrived just in time for two consecutive years of stumbling holiday sales and a brand-new sales tax hike. We bet the brochures look great, though.

BUSINESS
3/31 WITH A HONCHO GONE, MORE QUESTIONS AT FIDELITY

Expect Fidelity-watchers to shift into their usual speculative frenzy as Rodger Lawson, president of the Boston-based financial-services behemoth, steps down today. Lawson served as the number-two executive at Fidelity for about three years (exactly as long as he said he planned to serve when tapped for the job). His promotion in 2007 occasioned a big reshuffling that led to the departure of one-time CEO contender Ellyn McColgan; that shakeup came on the heels of a surprise resignation by longtime COO Robert Reynolds, and fit into a season of high drama at the traditionally inscrutable company.
As the guessing resumes over what Ned Johnson (pictured below) has in store for his proudly family-run firm, it’ll be the 79-year-old patriarch himself who will fill the president’s role for the time being. He’ll be aided by a nine-member executive panel that’ll include his daughter Abigail, the on-again-off-again heir apparent who now seems likely to succeed her dad. While the company has repeatedly stressed that a succession plan is in place, nervous market-watchers have admitted they’d love to know what it is.

Remy Returns…and Launches a New Restaurant, Too
The beloved Sox announcer talks about his bar, Remy’s (opening 3/15 on Boylston Street), and life after last season’s cancer scare.

First there was the RemDawgs concession stand at Fenway Park, and then you opened a bar at Logan Airport. Looks like you’re building an empire.
There’s no question the plan is to expand throughout New England. The focus now is on the Boylston location. Even if we expand, it will be the crown jewel.
Will RemDawgs be available? Yeah, there’ll be some hot dogs—I’m not sure what they’ll be called—but also steak and lobster. We want to be known as a great spot to get a bite to eat regardless of whether there’s a game. Our chefs are top-notch.
What else sets Remy’s apart from the other Fenway bars?Our audio-visual is going to be second to none. We have two huge 6-by-11-foot screens and 60-inch screens all over the place.
Have to ask: How are you feeling?Fine, fine, fine. I’m in good shape. I’m happy to be back for a full season.
And what about the team’s shape?I worry whether they have enough offense, but pitching and defense should be outstanding. The pitching staff is as good as I can remember. I’d say they have a strong chance to win more than 90 games.