Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

The first rule of The Great Urban Race? Be ready for anything. (Photo courtesy of The Great Urban Race.)

Great Urban Race
Think you know everything to know about Boston? The Great Urban race bills itself as a “wild urban adventure,” one that requires brains and brawn to win. Much like network television’s The Amazing Race, teams work together to solve a total of 12 clues that all together take about three to four hours and potentially four to eight miles in distance to complete, depending on strategy. Clues are a mix of physical activity, brain teasers, puzzles, and challenges, and cash prizes are doled out to the first three winners. The first 25 teams to complete the race are automatically ushered into the National Championship race in Vegas, where contenders can out-smart one another to the tune of $10,000. Any team that registers as St. Jude’s Heroes will help raise funds to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for cancer research.
$60?$70, 11 a.m., Saturday, May 5, race begins on Palmer Street in Harvard Square,

Once upon a time, the Internet was born. It grew and flourished with the ease of dandelions in a once-pristine summer lawn, spawning all sorts of new communities, information sharing, and memes. Then, in 2008, a group of Harvard students put together the world’s first Internet culture conference at MIT to celebrate all things interweb. And that pretty much brings us up to speed — this weekend’s ROFLCon will play host to some of the best-named panels we’ve ever seen. To wit: Life After the Meme; Honey, I Memed the Kids; and Drunk Vegan Black Metal Scanwich Chef. Even if you have no idea what that last one is, tell me you aren’t at least a little curious. Panelists include those of present and past internet fame, a “Super Art Fight,” involving live art creation and something called the Wheel of Death, and late night after parties on both days.
$55?$75 (plus an option to purchase a $500 “Mystery Pass”), Friday, May 4, 11 a.m. ? 12 a.m. and Saturday, May 5, 9:30 a.m. ? 11:30 p.m., Building 26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge,, buy tickets here.

Andrew Bird
The thing with Andrew Bird is that all his music is like a soft pillow in a room full of bricks. Some of his albums are better than others — I have no complaints about his newest release, Break It Yourself, but if forced to ‘fess up, I’d tell you it just doesn’t get much better than 2005’s Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs. But splitting hairs is unnecessary. The Chicago native and Suzuki-trained violinist can seemingly do no wrong: between folk-tinged orchestral strings, perfect whistling, a turn or two with the glock(enspiel, that is), Bird’s live performances don’t disappoint.
$35?$45, 8 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, 888-693-2583,

Word Nerds
Boston Book, Paper, & Photo Expo
If rummaging through old photographs, documents, maps, and postcards sounds like your idea of heaven, then get out your totally antiquated day planner and put the Boston Book, Paper, & Photo Expo on the agenda. Whether you’re a serious collector or casual decoupage hobbyist, expect to see original illustrations, antique books, vintage pinup photos, and even an extensive collection of post-mortem photography. And, if you’ve been meaning to find out how much that first edition copy of The Wizard of Oz is worth, Ken Gloss of the Brattle Book Shop will be providing estimates on old books and paper items.
$7, Saturday May 5, 10 a.m.?4 p.m, Shriner’s Auditorium, 399 Fordham Rd., Wilmington, 781-862-4039,

28th Annual LGBT Film Festival
New England’s longest-running and largest LGBT film festival hits the ICA this week. According to the Festival’s website, the series “celebrates, displays and distributes work by and for LGBT media makers – work that entertains, enriches and enlightens all audiences in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied communities.” Films to be screened include Loose Cannons, Question One, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, and Funkytown.
$9?$11, Thursday, May 3 – Sunday, May 6, times vary, Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-478-3103,