Weekend Update: Hurricane Irene and Greater Boston's Arts Events

By | Arts & Entertainment |

I hope everyone out there has purchased their water, hand-cranked radios, and three-week supply of beef jerky, as we brace for Hurricane Irene, which is on path to sweep through the Bay State this weekend. Whether we get the full brunt of the storm or not is still to be determined, but what appears to be definite is that we’ll get tons of wind and rain that will to put the mighty kibosh on what should have been a great weekend for the arts outdoors. While staying safe and indoors is the most important thing here, it’s a shame that one of the last hurrahs of the summer is increasingly looking washed out.

Take live music, for example. This summer, one Saturday a month, our city’s grooviest music school has been hosting the Berklee Music Fest on Georges Island. Yup, just take a ferry from Long Wharf North and you, too, can be sitting on a rock way out in the harbor listening to Berklee up-and-comers and alums playing soul, jazz, and blues — truly, one of the great things about living in a city that has both harbor islands and a groovy music school. This Saturday, the final slate includes R&B artists Will Wells and Dynamic Sound (at 4 p.m.) and Katrina Bello (at 5 p.m.), followed by bluesy singer-songwriter Troy Cartwright at 6 p.m. While this would be your chance to see the next Esperanza Spalding, the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership has already made this announcement:

“Due to the predicted hurricane this weekend and time needed for storm preparation, the islands of Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells, and Peddocks will be closed to both day visitors and campers Friday, August 26, through Sunday, August 28. All interisland ferry service from Hingham and Hull is suspended during that time. Boston Light Trips are cancelled from Friday, August 26, through Sunday, August 28. No interisland service between Thompson and Spectacle Islands on Sunday, August 28.”

While Georges Island and Fort Warren are not mentioned in this list of cancellations, they probably will be. Besides, do you really want to be out on the water and stranded on a island when the storm comes in?

The same goes for the genuinely awesome Lowell Summer Music Series, which has managed a weekend of Canadian rock royalty, featuring Newfoundland’s finest Great Big Sea, on Friday, and former Barenaked Ladies lead man Steven Page on Saturday. Lowell Summer Music has a “show goes on” policy, so it’s possible that rather than Boarding House Park, visitors may find themselves in the high school auditorium. Check the website for details; a message will be posted by 1 p.m. on the day of the show.

Then there are the many relatively unheralded but lovely sounding events around Greater Boston that may find themselves on the wrong end of the raindrops. All weekend, the Films at the Gate festival is to show kung-fu and Chinese-language movies in the empty lot by Boston’s Chinatown Park — now they can only say that they’re “watching the weather.” MetaMovements has spent all summer teaching people sweet moves with their Salsa in the Park series at Blackstone Community Center Park in the South End. It’s Monday night, and though they can move into the Blackstone Community Center itself if the torrents of rain are still around, it would be a damp whimper for their last event of the summer. DJs and “dancing under the stars” are less fun indoors.

And then there are the two wonderfully random events hosted by Historic New England locales. First, there’s the vintage baseball triple-header at Newbury’s Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm where the Essex Base Ball Club takes on the Melrose Pondfielders, Ipswich Brewers and Lynn Live Oaks, as they play according to the Greatest Game’s original 1961 rules. One can almost envision Abner Doubleday emerging from the mists in this field of dreams…”weather permitting,” of course. And there’s the famed Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions, which are scheduled to display their miraculous military prancing at Waltham’s Lyman Estate this weekend. If they’re rained out, then they’ll be back in mid-September at the Cogswell’s Grant estate in Essex.

All this sounds great, right? Well, this is just a partial list, so let’s hope Irene gives the far-off Atlantic a shake and leaves us the hell alone. If we’re lucky and that ends up being the case, then you have ample things to do. But even if some of these events go on indoors, it’s worth stressing yet again that no ticket or show or dance is worth being caught on the roads in drastic conditions.