We love the aptly named EcoClean in part because its proprietary supplies are made from sustainable materials, keeping things green, safe, and pleasantly unscented. But we also love them because they arrive on time and get to work in a whirlwind of efficiency. They might even surprise youone day we came home to find our balcony swept of a winter’s worth of debris. Nice touch. ecocleanboston.com.
After stints at Oleana and No. 9 Park, Janice Carte launched Tiny Spoon Chef almost two years ago, and now she's in high demand. Carte mixes her Mediterranean culinary knowledge (via Ana Sortun) with her Southeast Asian background, bringing exciting fusion to the table. Starting at $325 weekly (plus the cost of food), she'll grocery-shop, prep and wrap several dinners, and leave balanced options for the kids' lunches. 70 High St., Stoneham, MA 02180, tinyspoonchef.com.
This Brookline storefront is ground zero for 20th-century American and European decorative arts. Art Deco and Art Nouveau are heavily represented, particularly French art glass and lighting, in items ranging from museum-quality chandeliers to ceramic dishes. Be prepared to open your wallet, but if you buy something here, chances are you'll keep it forever. 171A Harvard Street, Boston, MA .
If you’re paying someone to pour hot wax on a (ahem) sensitive body part, wouldn’t it be great if that person had medical experience in addition to beauty expertise? Ari Neuman not only knows a ton about skin care, but she also used to work as a surgical assistant in the OBGYN department at Beth Israel—she has the bedside manner and attention to detail of a medical professional, too, making a typically awkward experience more bearable and—dare we say?—almost relaxing. 485 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, swayspa.com.
This classy quarterly arts show hosted by opera star Phyllis Curtin, now dean of the Boston University School for the Arts, proves that commercial TV can tackle the arts.
Avalon is dead; long live the 'Dise. As Lansdowne Street is being tamed for Red Sox fans, Comm. Ave. continues to keep it real, thanks in large part to this 30-year mainstay. The Paradise has gotten even better lately, as it picks up its defunct rival's slack, and now consistently puts together the Hub's best lineup of musical acts. Not only does it book bands to thrill hipsters young (Ladytron, the Go! Team) and less so (X, the B-52's), but its two-level layout also allows audiences their choice of getting dirty down in the pit or enjoying the show from the relative calm of the balcony. 969 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, .
It is with good reason that the Lizard Lounge consistently tops our live-venue list: It's still the favorite choice for established rock acts, and, for all its renown, is still every bit as intimate as a suburban rec room. Crowded cocktail tables stand inches away from the Oriental rug-lined stage, where, on any given night, a classic jazz trio, alt-rockers, or spoken-word poets perform to no more than 105 fans. Adding to the club's character are the laid-back punks behind the bar who dole out boutique draft beers such as Mojo IPA and Victory Golden Monkey. 1667 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, lizardloungeclub.com.
A citywide celebration of the art of John Singer Sargent—at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fogg Art Museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Boston Public Library—provides a rare chance to see the complete picture of this fascinating fin-de-siècle expatriate artists who considered Boston his American home.
As the longtime chair of the MFA museum school art sale, Boston's other Barbara Lee—the art consultant, not the gazillionaire—has built it into the largest event of its kind in the country. She brings that same passion to the needs of her high-powered customers, for whom she'll travel to the Venice Biennale and Art Forum Berlin in search of just the right piece. Lee is also an expert on the local scene, comfortable with both established stars such as Ellsworth Kelly and hotshots like George Rosa. 35 Fisher Ave., Brookline, MA 2445, barbaracolelee.com.
People who are stuck on Stickley already know about JMW, a gallery filled with Mission furniture, art pottery, and accessories of the American arts and crafts movement. A century ago, Boston was in the forefront of craftsman design, and JMW celebrates that tradition by searching out some of the finest local art pottery. These are antiques to live with, from mustard-yellow J. & J.G. Low tiles out of Chelsea for the fireplace, to an achingly elegant matte-green Grueby vase for the front hall. And maybe, just maybe, a Stickley table to set it on. 144 Lincoln St., Boston, MA jmwgallery.com/.
The affable writer, scholar, and former director of the Yale Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Art starts work at Boston's MFA next month. Lucky MFA. Lucky us.
Nowhere else in this town are you more apt to find pink Izods and gangsta colors in such proximity. This joint, nestled between the gentrified South End and Roxbury and opened in 1947 by Joseph "Wally" Walcott, is a classic treasure. And nowhere else in New England will you find finer jazz in a venue with more soul. Bands gather in the corner of the bar each night—from national acts to aspiring stars still studying at Berklee. The music is played loud enough that you can hear every seductive note, but not too loud for conversation. Don't like jazz? Check out an Afro-Cuban band. If you don't find yourself tapping your foot, it's time to check your pulse. 427 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA wallycafe.com.
A combination bookstore, music store, and cafe, Borders Books and Music has a huge selection of art books, ranging from classics like Picasso, Homer and O'Keeffe to Pop Art and Andy Warhol. Borders also offers sketchbooks, how-to books on drawing, painting, and photography, and a wide selection on subjects such as art history, architecture, graphic design, and printmaking. Best of all—comfy chairs for readers to sit in as they pore over the glossy pages. Corner of School and Washington streets, Boston, MA .
The Massachusetts review editor for Art New England, he began reviewing shows for the prestigious Art in America about a year ago. Since then, he has gained a reputation as Boston's brightest reviewer and something of a cut following among artists and museum curators. (Honorable mention to Nancy Stapen, whose reviews in the Herald have raised the profile of the local arts scene.)
When you want to get a truly original gift for your best friend or the happy couple, this is the place to come. Run by two former art professors, Hudsons is a well-curated mélange of antiques, accessories, and contemporary-art pieces. (Steel-mesh icosahedron, anyone?) There are also plenty of traditional paintings and antiques from which to choose. 87 Marshal St., North Adams, MA 1247, hudsonsart.com.