When live performance was off-limits, this glam-punk queen raised the (gay) bar on virtual drag shows in a major way. Her “Full Spin” series, start-to-finish presentations of iconic albums in the queer canon — Lady Gaga’s Artpop, for one — has so far raised nearly $40,000 in Venmo’d tips for underemployed artists and social justice orgs. That’s when she’s not releasing her own debut record of dark, glossy electro tunes (Before Me), offering eye-popping makeup tutorials on YouTube, or cohosting “Now Serving,” a Drag Race–style digital competition that shines the spotlight on other colorful local talent. majentawithaj.com.
It was meant to revive the slogan that got us through another difficult time, the marathon bombings. What it became was viral gold, and a goodhearted laugh when we all needed it most. Instead of running the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day as she’d planned, MGH nurse Lindsay Devers set out to spell “Boston Strong” on her phone’s GPS app by zigzagging through the Back Bay along her own 26.2-mile route. But in her sweaty haste, she left out the “n,” leading to one of the funniest typos in memory: “Boston Strog.” Though the moment spread far and wide on the Internet, in a rare bit of mercy, commenters gave her an out: Maybe the missing “n,” they offered, stood for “nurse.”
Hey, we have no quibbles with Winnie the Pooh's red belly shirt or Corduroy's hobo-chic overalls. Our storybook buds have long proven they can work the one-piece look. Kids need more head-to-toe options, though. To outfit your own little character, look to Twinkle Star. Recently relocated to Porter Square from Somerville, this boutique covering infants to age seven now features a broader mix of big names (Le Top, Zutano) and love-at-first-sight labels (Beary Basics, Revo Baby) than the hipster-kid boutiques you'll find in the Back Bay. Twinkle Star's prices are friendlier, too. Owners (and parents of three) Kerri and Lucas Friedlaender have an eye for eco-friendly wares, like Kicky Pants' silky bamboo separates, and modern colors. Cambridge, MA 2140,
We get the irony that our favorite neighborhood restaurant in Chinatown is a 135-year-old German beer hall, beloved by generations as a great place for a sudsy tall one and a grilled bratwurst. Now that Jacob Wirth has pulled itself from the brink with a new chef and menu, its halcyon days may still lie ahead. Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz's menu offers traditional sturdy German fare from schnitzel to spaetzle, but also pasta with shellfish, grilled steak tips, and garlicky P.E.I. mussels that ought to come with straws for all that luscious broth. And with wholesome entertainment such as live jazz and Mel Stiller's Friday piano sing-alongs—in which rowdy graduate students, old-timers, and tourists alike join in on classics from the last four decades—the old place is as lively as ever. 31-37 Stuart St., Boston, MA jacobwirth.com.
This Back Bay nuovo Italian restaurant is as self-consciously trendy as its downtown sister, Radius, but damned if they don't mix a thumpingly good basil gimlet here, poured with iced Ketel One and a garnish of fresh basil leaves. It's a sunny drink for a bar that aspires to Tuscany via Fifth Avenue. There's cool elegance in the beige-coated bartenders at the twin bars, while the round marble tabletops are pure Mediterranean café—perfect for a social grappa. Equally elegant, although perhaps a touch more florid, is the high-end clientele, and while elbows rub through Prada sleeves and the wine list flows with beauty, the absence of smoldering MS Clubs means it will never quite smell like Italy. 79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA viamattarestaurant.com/.
The Regattabar occasionally offers avant-garde performers like Don Byron or Michael Marcus, but no one would ever confuse with New York's Knitting Factory. The Institute for Contemporary Art, on the other hand, in cahoots with the recently revived Boston Creative Music Alliance (brainchild of the Pheonix's Ed Hazel and onetime ICA affiliate Gillian Levine), has hosted some cutting-edge jazz in the last year. Boston's fringe fans were treated to acts like John Zorn's Masada and Henry Threadgill and the Far East Side Band, who came into town in conjunction with the "New Histories" exhibit, up-and-coming pianist Myra Melford, and free jazz masters Matthew Shipp and William Parker. New shows are in the works for the fall. It may be wishful thinking, but we're calling this a trend. 955 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Vogue named him one of the "most sought after trainers in America": he has a client list peppered with Boston's beautiful people, and his state-of-the-art gym is more Philippe Starke than YMCA grunge. But don't let appearances deceive you: Berke's a task master who realizes people do not want to be sweating their buns off, doing the same old grunts seven days a week. Gym rats addicted to StairMasters, aerobics, and other such standard pursuits be warned: Berke will have you jumping rope, spinning, and taking part in high-intensity weight training. He will also create an individually tailored diet regime, which can include two glasses of red wine a night. $75/hour. Adam Berke Gym, 1260 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Push through the porthole-windowed door, and you'll swear you've walked into the design equivalent of that old "Sprockets" routine from Saturday Night Live. Everything here is in ridiculous conflict: Stately black tiles cover the floor and lower half of the walls, while bright and modernistic yellow paint finishes the job. The mirror above the starkly modern circular water basin (it really is a basin) is wedged into the corner, breaking your reflection into a surreal, fun-house. And the aural struggle between the television in the corner and the radio speaker in the ceiling is kind of funny: imagine Marvin Gaye doing play-by-play for a Red Sox game. But as men's rooms go, this one wins for being as conversation-inducing as that aforementioned German talk-show skit. 393 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
When Star wanted to know how Joan Kennedy lost 20 pounds, the tabloid called Jinx. Thirty-nine years old, Jinx herself used to weigh 40 pounds more than her current 110, and now keeps herself (and her clients) trim with an exercise regimen that combines yoga, modern dance, ballet, and "Marine Corps training exercises." "They flow from one to another," she explains. "It's not just physical fitness that my students get out of this, it's a self-identification. I love the people who come in here. Some of them have become so advanced, so fit, that i wonder what's left for them after me. The Israeli army?" Boston, MA
The problem with getting an appointment at some vaunted salons isn't the star stylists themselves so much as the gate-keepers they have shooing away the unshampooed masses: "[Mr. Big Shot] isn't taking new clients at the moment," intoned multiple haughty receptionists during our research. We encountered no attitude, however, when we called Kent Newton Salon, and upon arrival we found chilled-out ambiance and meticulous craftsmanship. Partway through the session, the eponymous master — a former Mario Russo staffer — became so engrossed in precision-snipping one cowlick, we crossed our fingers that he didn't charge by the hour. (He doesn't.) For Kent himself, you will need to book a few weeks out, but it's the best cut we've had in years. And yes, he's taking new clients. 1315 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, kentnewtonsalon.com.
A world-renowned jazz drummer, Berklee professor, and Grammy-winning bandleader, Medford’s Terri Lyne Carrington (pictured, bottom) excels at anything she touches. Her latest triumph is this two-CD set spanning almost two hours of music. Featuring her band Social Science and aching vocals by singer Debo Ray, the first half is a musical stew of jazz, R & B, hip-hop, and funk, with a poetic rumination on police brutality by Malcolm Jamal-Warner on “Bells (Ring Loudly)” that took on even greater meaning after the killing of George Floyd. The second half, an instrumental jazz suite called “Dreams and Desperate Measures,” is a luminous river of improvised music. Put together, it’s one of the most astonishing albums ever released by a Boston musician. terrilynecarrington.com.
Well into the Kindle era, Boston still hits out of its weight class when it comes to bookselling, and we treat big-name authors like visiting royalty. The Booksmith is where our memoirists, like Andre Dubus III and Gail Caldwell, and our suspense gurus, from Hank Phillipi Ryan to Joseph Finder, come to tell their tales. It’s where Atlantic columnist James Parker throws a celebration of his literary magazine the Pilgrimthe one produced 10 times per year by the city’s homeless population. And it’s where Barney Frank turns up to talk baseball. In sum, it’s the kind of place you keep going back to, because you never know what they’re going to think of next. 279 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, brooklinebooksmith.com.
<p>Dick Butkus.</p> <p>That's who linebacker Andre Tippett brings to mind, says Dick Shinnick, the Patriots' linebacker coach. "His impact on a game is Butkus's."</p> <p>Tippett, a 26-year-old black belt in karate who finished his fourth year in the National Football League by making virtually every All-NFL team, bolstered a defense rivaled only by Chicago's in its pass rush.</p> <p>Astonishingly, Shinnick believes that the six-foot-three-inch, 241-pound Alabama native can get even better. "He's already with the great ones," the coach says. "He can do anything they can do. But this year he'll improve on plays off tackle. He's pretty good at them. But he could be better."</p> <p>Bring on the Bears.</p>
Is Junior grappling with the moral implications of a carnivorous diet? Take him to Porter Square to read Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon. Barefoot Books' sunny little children's nook, stocked by its own locally based international publishing company of the same name, also boasts plenty of other creative, beautifully illustrated multicultural, and often idiosyncratic, choices. One book of the month was written by a professional faerie, and the world religions section boasts a book about the Hindu goddess Divaali. (There are also plenty of creative but basically apolitical fairy tales and stories about animals.) Community is as important as storytelling here: There are regular story hours—some bilingual—author events, and an adult evening series on topics such as "Creating a Place for Your Child to Grow and Thrive." 1771 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
No doubt the chic Cambridge salespeople at this refined boutique blanch a little every time they have to tell a prospective customer, "We're just down the street from Urban Outfitters." But it's hard to feel sorry for them—they work among some of the most luxurious threads in the city, an impeccable rainbow of lacy Jil Sander skirts, silky Collette Dinnigan slipdresses, Piazza Sempione jackets, and racy Blumarine trousers. It's all this-moment cool, but never arduously so, thanks to low-key charm, beautiful cuts, and clean, classic lines. Don't ignore the small stuff: exquisite black headbands, Petite Bateau tanks, and gorgeous cashmere socks often make an appearance on one of the idiosyncratically placed tables. 20 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA tessandcarlos.com/.