Seven Can’t-Miss Events in Boston, June 2018

Including Cirque du Soleil, the Roxbury International Film Festival, and more.

Photograph by Laurence Labat; costumes by Giovanna Buzzi © 2016 Cirque du Soleil


Cirque du Soleil returns to Boston with a dizzying production that looks and feels like a rollicking hallucination. Inspired by lucid dreaming, Luzia whisks the audience away to a surreal Mexican landscape populated by hoop-diving hummingbirds, cenote-dwelling demigods, and pole-leaping acrobats possibly under the influence of peyote (no, really). The show’s name combines two Spanish words, luz (light) and lluvia (rain)—imagery the production uses to evoke Mexico’s beautiful and unpredictable terrain.

Luzia marks a few milestones for the storied Cirque du Soleil. It’s the first big-top production to feature water: Thanks to crafty engineering, 1,585 gallons pour onto the performers and into a basin during every show, only to be recycled for the next performance. And even the Luzia tent is unusual—instead of the familiar yellow-and-blue stripes, visitors will be greeted by gleaming white peaks bedecked in celestial motifs related to the show. Of course, not everything’s changed. You can expect Cirque’s signature heart-stopping gymnastics, rain or shine—just with a few more cacti than usual.

June 27–July 29, Suffolk Downs, 877-924-7783,

The Moth: “Endings”

Fancy yourself a storyteller? This live event gives brave volunteers five minutes to recount their best “end-of” tale, from breakups to layoffs to graduations. Prefer to keep your embarrassing moments to yourself? No worries; it’s just as fun to listen.

June 5, Laugh Boston, 617-725-2844,

“Life, Death & Revelry”

For the first time in a century, the frolicking maenads and satyrs chiseled into the Gardner’s famed Farnese Sarcophagus will be getting some room to spread out. This month, the ancient artwork moves from its longtime residence in the courtyard to the Hostetter Gallery, where all four sides will now be visible. The viewing party lasts all summer—togas optional.

June 14–September 3, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 617-566-1401,

Roxbury International Film Festival

Venture beyond the realm of summer blockbusters with Rox Film, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. For 10 days, the fest takes over local venues to screen documentaries, shorts, and features highlighting the experience of people of color, and also hosts panels, workshops, and networking events.

June 20–30,

Courtesy of DeCordova

Park Fest

Head to Lincoln for a day of al fresco music, arts, and crafts. Browse wares from local vendors or see if your short game is up to par on a mini-golf green placed alongside Jim Dine’s Two Big Black Hearts. Refuel with your pick of pints: Both Ben & Jerry’s and Acton’s True West Brewery will dispense refreshments.

June 23, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 781-259-8355,

Moulin Rouge!

Calling all Children of the Revolution: Baz Luhrmann’s beloved musical pastiche hits the pre-Broadway stage this month. With superstars Aaron Tveit (Les Misérables) and Karen Olivo (West Side Story) and an updated book by Tony winner John Logan, the show will be nothing short of “Spectacular, Spectacular.”

June 27–August 5, Emerson Colonial Theatre, 888-616-0272,

Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case

Every summer, sleepy North Adams transforms into one of the hottest destinations around, thanks to Mass MoCA’s packed lineup—which this year includes reclusive blues master Ray LaMontagne alongside none other than indie-folk star Neko Case. Expect tunes off their new albums: LaMontagne’s sultry Part of the Light and Case’s fiery Hell-On.

June 29, Joe’s Field, 413-662-2111,

Photograph by Brian Stowell