The Cultural To-Do List: June 2016

Our guide to this month’s events.

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Courtesy Photo


This local electropop quartet’s rep has been gradually surging over the past eight years, and perhaps this month will be the tipping point as they drop their debut full-length album, Telecoast. Since forming at UMass Lowell and going on to win Best College Band at the Boston Music Awards in 2008, Bearstronaut has been a CMJ Music Festival “top band to see,” played at Boston Calling, and earned shout-outs in trendsetting national magazines such as Interview and Paste.

Alternately creamy and cool, the band’s lush, driving sound evokes the best of New Order and the Pet Shop Boys, with a dose of tropical funk. Add in the aching yacht-rock vocals of David Martineau, and you have an instant dance party brewing. Telecoast’s synth-drenched lead track, “Holding Out,” is the perfect summer jam for driving to the beach. Catch it live at the band’s album-release show, June 10 at the Sinclair.

June 10,

Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines

In this unauthorized James Taylor biography, author Mark Ribowsky covers everything you’d want to know about the music legend—from his youthful summers on Martha’s Vineyard and his ’70s superstardom to his current status as an aging boomer who still commands enough cultural cachet to regularly play Fenway (which he’ll do again August 3).

Out June 1, Chicago Review Press, $29.

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Courtesy Photo

Sarah Silverman

The New Hampshire native and two-time Emmy winner returns to New England with her sharp-tongued repertoire of societal and political satire.

June 2–3, The Wilbur Theatre, 617-248-9700,

Odyssey Opera Festival

Founded three years ago by Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera focuses on introducing audiences to contemporary and long-neglected older works. This month the company will be fully staging two rarely performed epics that take place in ancient Rome: Gluck’s Ezio, from 1750; and Mozart’s Lucio Silla, from 1772.

June 3–12, Boston University Theatre, 617-826-1626,

Cambridge Arts River Festival

This annual extravaganza brings six stages featuring dozens of musicians, more than 100 food and crafts booths, and countless interactive events for the kids to East Cambridge. The effervescently quirky day kicks off at 11 a.m. with People’s Sculpture Racing—yes, a road race where contestants push, pull, or pedal their works of art.

June 4,

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Photograph ©AMNH/R. Mickens

“Spiders Alive!”

While the queasiest arachnophobes may want to sit this one out, braver souls can wander among this exhibition’s massive models and (yes) live spiders, meeting such curious creatures as the desert hairy scorpion and the Goliath birdeater. Yum!

June 12–September 5, Museum of Science, 617-723-2500,

Nantucket Film Festival

The nation’s swankiest celluloid celebration returns with offerings like Finding Dory (the Disney sequel to Nemo), a Werner Herzog documentary, and features starring Viggo Mortensen, Ellen Page, and David Oyelowo. The marquee event, hosted by Seth Meyers on June 25, will be the Screenwriters Tribute honoring Oliver Stone.

June 22–27, 212-279-4200,