The Cultural To-Do List

Your guide to this month’s events.

donna summer

Photograph by Jeremiah Robinson/Mayor’s office

Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco

When thousands of people bedecked in flashy ’70s gear take over City Hall Plaza on June 19, they’ll be celebrating Donna Summer, who had the most wildly unusual success story in local rock history. Born in Boston, LaDonna Adrian Gaines sang in the South End’s Grant AME Church and in the glee club at Dorchester’s Jeremiah Burke High School before moving to Germany to pursue a career in musicals. From there she launched a string of disco hits, from “Love to Love You Baby” to “Bad Girls.” By 2012, when she died at 63 from lung cancer, she had sold more than 130 million records worldwide. Posthumously, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In yet another homage to the Hub’s most accomplished soul singer, the city has joined with dance-music promoters Together Boston to stage the second annual Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco. Dorchester’s veteran funk guru DJ Kon will man the roller rink’s turntables, with food trucks keeping skaters sated. Perhaps the event will finally get the disco ball rolling on that long-awaited statue?

June 19, 6–10 p.m., City Hall Plaza,

Masako Kamiya/Tommy Simpson

This Gallery Naga exhibit features two intriguing New England artists. Kamiya specializes in paintings that bring pointillism into the third dimension: She lets each drop of gouache dry before adding ­another, repeating the process some 10,000 times to form what she calls a “forest of multicolored columns.” Simpson ­creates ­surrealistic tableaus in paintings and rugs, and crafts Mirò-meets-art-nouveau hardwood furniture.

June 5–27, Gallery Naga, 617-267-9060,

Archie’s Betty

While the exact location of Riverdale High School, the setting of the Archie comic strip, has never been definitively named, signs have long pointed to Haverhill. After all, ­Archie’s original cartoonist, Bob Montana, went to high school there. Now former Phoenix film critic Gerald Peary has made his own documentary in which he tracks down Montana’s surviving classmates to find the real-life inspirations for the characters.

June 14, The Institute of Contemporary Art, 617-478-3100,


This child-focused ­spinoff of the Boston Book Festival features appearances from Knuffle Bunny author Mo Willems and former Del Fuegos frontman Dan Zanes, now one of the most popular stars in kids’ music. And with a jam-packed day of plays, dance classes, and concerts, it’ll be an early night-nights for you and the little ones.

June 20, Copley Square, 617-945-9552,


On tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, and Geddy Lee are still pyrotechnic virtuosos—and their devoted fans still relish playing air guitar, air drums, and even air bass to the likes of “Tom Sawyer” and “La Villa Strangiato.”

June 23, TD Garden, 800-745-3000,

“Maine Collects”

This month, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, is ­unveiling 100 major works, many of which have never been displayed outside their owners’ homes. It’s a star-studded exhibit with a multigenerational lineup, including pieces by John Singer Sargent, ­Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Andy Warhol, and Annie Leibo­vitz.

June 27–March 6, 2016, Farnsworth Art Museum, 207-596-6457,

The Good Shufu

Shufu means “housewife” in Japanese, which may be an ironic title for this memoir by BU lecturer Tracy Slater. In her debut book, she writes about how she went to Japan to teach English at an executive MBA program, only to fall in love with Toru, one of her salaryman students. After the two marry, she faces the heartbreaking challenge of struggling to conceive a child in a foreign culture she barely understands.

Out June 30, $27, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.