The ICA is on a run that would be the envy of any museum: In the past year alone, it hosted a range of dynamic exhibits, including Pakistani artist Huma Bhabba’s massive and haunting sculptures, and opened the Watershed, a 15,000-square-foot satellite across the harbor in Eastie. And with the high-profile acquisition of one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s famed Infinity Mirror Rooms, on view beginning this September, it seems the best is yet to come. 25 Harbor Shore Dr. , Boston, MA icaboston.org.
If you’re on the gala circuit, you know that the similar guest lists can make it feel like one big night on repeat. But this year, with a vivacious crowd (perhaps thanks to first-time co-chairs Charles Carignan and Michael Cerruti), the Boston Ballet Ball stood out—particularly for its stunning preview of Full on Forsythe, by legendary choreographer William Forsythe, a whole month ahead of its opening at the Opera House. How’s that for a night to remember? bostonballet.org.
Forget the dive-y, fluorescent-lit bowling alleys of yore: Kings has turned the classic pastime upscale. Lounge on a tufted-leather couch, Manhattan in hand, while waiting to bowl on one of 16 glowing lanes. The 20,000-square-foot Seaport hot spot, which debuted in 2017, also features retro arcade games and swanky gastropub fare—including a bourbon-glazed pork-belly BLT so good you might even forget to bowl 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston, MA kings-de.com.
A GA ticket to House of Blues means A) you’re seeing one of your favorite acts, and B) you’re about to move. We love House of Blues for the energy on the floor, whether you’re dropping it low with Lizzo, moshing with August Burns Red, or crying as you hold an iPhone in flashlight mode aloft with Jenny Lewis. Hey, however the music moves you is cool with us. 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, MA houseofblues.com/boston.
It’s not summer if you’re not sitting in the grass by the Charles, taking in some tunes at the Hatch Shell. The art deco venue best known for the Pops’ annual Fourth of July extravaganza more than makes good on its mission of bringing classical music to the people, with a free concert series that runs all summer long and a top-notch sound system. All you have to bring is a blanket and a picnic. 47 David G. Mugar Way, Boston, MA hatchshell.com.
There’s plenty of good theater in Boston, but if you want to see something really innovative, chances are you’re going to the Huntington. Its most recent season included a production of a Sherlock Holmes play melded with Fujiko Nakaya’s wildly popular outdoor fog sculptures, as well as the brilliantly staged Indecent. The company has also proven it can attract—and retain—big names: Pose star and Met gala trendsetter Billy Porter will be returning this fall to direct The Purists. We can’t wait to see what the Huntington thinks of next. 264 Huntington Ave. , Boston, MA huntingtontheatre.org.
Okay, so Laugh Boston may be smack in the middle of no man’s land (has anyone ever actually been to the convention center?), but we promise it’s worth the trek—and so do plenty of big-ticket comedians. Jimmy O. Yang, Leslie Jones, and Dulcé Sloan have all hit this Seaport-ish establishment, as has cult-favorite storytelling series “The Moth.” So grab some pals and an Uber—a belly-laughing night awaits. 425 Summer St., Boston, MA laughboston.com/.
This basement hole in the wall has been the cradle of some of Boston’s most killer jam sessions since it opened as New England’s first African-American–owned nightclub in 1947. Walk through its famous red door and you can feel the history: Generations of soon-to-be stars from the New England Conservatory and Berklee (such as a young Esperanza Spalding) have tested their chops before this discerning crowd. You never know who you might see before they become the next big thing. 427 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA wallysCafe.com.
You won’t find interloping bachelorette parties at this veteran watering hole, secreted away downtown. What you will find are refreshing vestiges of a time before gay bars got gentrified: cheap drinks, little pretense, and dancing throngs—not to mention an abundance of pheromones—during recurring parties like “Fuzz” and “Casual Fridays.” Recent cosmetic updates and the addition of popular local DJs, whose eclectic soundtracks span Top 40 to artsy indie pop, have made the place feel hipper—but here, it’s still unabashedly queer. 14 Pi Alley, Boston, MA thealleybar.com.
Don’t worry, this isn’t your middle schooler’s violin recital: Rising from the insuppressible enthusiasm of maestro Benjamin Zander—who founded the (senior) Boston Philharmonic Orchestra 40 years ago—this ensemble of fantastically talented 12- to 21-year-olds delivers exactly what you want from a night at the orchestra: to be blown away. Whether playing the notoriously difficult Mahler (one of the maestro’s specialties) or another canonical composer, they deliver youthful energy and just a touch of wonder. bostonphil.org.
Do you possess a surplus of useless knowledge about obscure summer-camp traditions and the classic Oregon Trail computer game? Seize the opportunity to show off your affinity for random factoids at Aeronaut’s weekly “Indie Trivia” nights. The Somerville taproom taps the fiercest trivia competitors in town to create and host ultra-competitive Tuesday-night quizzes complemented by the ultimate brain food: Aeronaut’s signature hoppy brews. 14 Tyler St. , Somerville, MA aeronautbrewing.com.
A great bookstore does more than bring you the latest blockbuster—it promises to surprise you. And so it is with the eclectic readings staged at Brookline Booksmith. From eye-opening appearances by authors such as sci-fi icon Neal Stephenson and former Teen Vogue editor in chief Elaine Welteroth to horizon-expanding initiatives like the Transnational Literature Series (which focuses on books about migration, displacement, and exile), the Booksmith offers a steady stream of programming that promises to keep your bedside table stocked. 279 Harvard St., Brookline, MA brooklinebooksmith.com.
Covered in vinyl stickers and rainbow string lights, J.P.’s Midway Café looks like a classic dive bar, but it’s also the spot to sing your heart out every Thursday starting at 10 p.m. A favorite of Boston’s younger queer crowd—but welcoming to everyone—the evening starts with regulars crooning to ’90s and early-aughts hits and ends with wild dance parties. 3496 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA midwaycafe.com/.
Kelly Brabants. Travis Scott. Drake. Boldfacers from near and far flock to this Seaport nightclub, known for its VIP vibe, attractive yo-pro crowd, and never-ending lineup of celebrity DJs—plus a killer light and sound system (amped up by smoke machines, of course). And the party isn’t just on the weekend: The Grand throws down on Mondays and Thursdays, too. 58 Seaport Blvd. , Boston, MA thegrandboston.com.
For 16 years, Bostonians have been heralding summer’s arrival by mingling with vendors selling lucky bamboo plants, watching the lion dance, and noshing on curried fish balls. chinatownmainstreet.org.
Eleven days and more than 50 films, including vital hits such as a Toni Morrison biopic? Spoiler: Don’t miss this one next year. roxburyinternationalfilmfestival.com.
Partnering with Berklee, the second BAMS Fest at Franklin Park boasted killer acts such as Eric Roberson and Cliff Notez jamming on its two stages. Roxbury, MA bamsfest.org.
Other festivals may showcase art, but they probably don’t turn you into the one making it. Come July, the local edition of this global arts event lets you sculpt, jam, act, and more. boston.figmentproject.org.
If you were going to pick one person to fix the hellscape that is the American medical system, this surgeon, professor, and writer is probably the guy. Tapped by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. last year to head a revolutionary healthcare venture called Haven, he’s searching for ways to do more for less—like, say, relying on tried-and-true (and cheaper) meds instead of the shiniest thing on the market—to pull healthcare out of its spiral. atulgawande.com/.
He’s the mind behind Boston Answering, the local counterpoint to Boston Calling; winner for Best New Artist at the Boston Music Awards last year; and a general force to be reckoned with. Cliff Notez is also a great artist with a great debut album, When the Sidewalk Ends—a flowing suite layered with ghostly pianos, soulful backing vocals, and thoughtful lyrics about struggling to thrive in Boston. Whatever else he is, he is not to be missed. cliffnotez.com.
There ain’t no rest for the wicked funny. Between organizing a monthly show at Dorchester Brewing Co., raising two kids, and advocating for children with disabilities, Bethany Van Delft has a lot going on—and plenty to mine for laughs, from being afraid of her brood to an incident with a judge-y jewelry thief. bethanyvandelft.com.
Who captures the spirit of the city of champions in this era of prosperity and decadent joy better than Rob Gronkowski? The man who brings raucous mischief wherever he goes, who both wins and dents championship trophies, and whom everyone loves both in spite of and because of his flaws, Gronk may be retiring from the Patriots, but he’s still number one in our hearts.
There are plenty of people who can tell you what’s happening in Boston, but if you want to know what to think about what’s happening, watch O’Connell. With stellar guests, tough but noncombative questions, and a real interest in talking about ideas, the host of NECN’s The Take avoids the pitfalls of partisan talking heads, and always leaves us asking: Why can’t more newscasters be like O’Connell? necn.com.
Hamilton taught us there’s a fierce appetite—not to mention need—for well-told stories of American history, and few writers bring our country’s saga to life like Lepore. She tackled both our past and present with her 2018 epic These Truths and, more recently, her brief look at rising nationalism in the U.S., The Case for the Nation—each so good they don’t even need a soundtrack. history.fas.harvard.edu/people/jill-lepore.
Happy birthday to this multimedia pioneer, who turns 83 this month with plenty to celebrate. After decades of medium-defining work—not to mention a Tate Modern retrospective in London and a Kyoto Prize last year— the MIT arts professor emerita continues to leave her mark on Boston. Between her recent light-and-crystal installation Ice Drawing at the MFA and her Isabella Stewart Gardner exhibit of evocative animal drawings, Jonas just may be having her best run yet.
Typically when a city recalls its mayor, that’s the end of their career at City Hall—but not for Jasiel Correia, Fall River’s leader. While a majority of voters elected to send the 27-year-old politico packing after a federal indictment for allegedly defrauding investors in his startup, enough chose him as his own successor that he survived the ordeal. Even James Michael Curley didn’t pull that trick.
Mobsters, drugs, priceless art, and an unsolved mystery: This riveting capsule podcast about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist has it all. Meticulously crafted by WBUR’s Horan and Rodolico and the now-retired longtime Globe staffer Kurkjian, Last Seen’s twists, turns, and revelations are something you have to hear to believe. wbur.org/lastseen. wbur.org/lastseen.
The hush-hush August wedding of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Eliza Dushku, a Watertown native, and local real estate exec Peter Palandjian started with the bride and groom joining the Boston Bike Party and ended with a bash (and this sweet photo) at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. The dreamiest part of the festivities, though? Their intimate ceremony in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library, where the couple swapped vows.
From partying together at the Met Gala to celebrating the Super Bowl win at Disney World, the Patriots’ stars are more than bros—they’re practically brothers. And it’s adorable.
News that Bob Kraft was involved in a prostitution sting stunned Patriots Nation. With the case still ongoing, the story is only now beginning to fade from water-cooler chatter.
Insinuations of voter suppression. Mockery of the Boston City Council. When City Councilor Josh Zakim came for Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s job, neither pulled punches. The result? One hell of a race.
If we thought Ayanna Pressley had nerves of steel for challenging and taking down one of our longest-serving Democratic congressmen, it was only because we hadn’t yet seen her take on the Trump administration. In her first speech on the floor of the House in January, she delivered a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump and the government shutdown. More recently, in an exchange that went viral, she scolded Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for interrupting her and evading her questions. As a result, Pressley’s take-no-prisoners approach has made her a star on the national political stage. Read more