Master puppeteer Basil Twist's adaptation of Stravinsky's ballet about a tragic love triangle among a clown, a ballerina, and a Moor managed to convey humanity and grace in the movement of Japanese-style marionettes. One compact hour long, it begged for repeat viewings from both kids and adults. Unique productions like this during ArtsEmerson's inaugural season have proven that this organization should be central to Boston arts for years to come. 559 Washington St., Boston, MA 2139, artsemerson.org.
The food at Red Rock Bistro & Bar is a bonus. The beautiful view of the pounding Atlantic surf and Boston skyline is filling enough. On the other hand, we would never give up chef Allen Bohnert's brunch menu of fluffy mushroom-, cheese-, and spinach-stuffed omelets; challah French toast with ruby-red strawberries; or blueberry flapjacks with cassis butter. It's worth setting the alarm clock on a Sunday. Ease out of your postbrunch food coma with a long walk along the soft sand beach below the restaurant. 141 Humphrey St., Swampscott, MA redrockbistro.com/.
Except for his feckless attempt at twisting the Globe's arm during the Barnicle scandal, Stemberg has made one right move after another in building his office-supply company into the industry leader. As a topper, he bagged the naming rights to the soon-to-be completed Los Angeles arena—just in time for next year's Democratic National Convention. At least someone from Boston came out a winner on that deal.
When the Data General vice president and cofounder dissolved his merger with his third wife, Nanette, he bailed out with the couple's $4-million Dover farm, their Boston townhouse, his Waterville Valley real estate, his millions in DG stock and assorted assets. All Nanette got was a flat $1 million, two mink coats, and numerous four-legged creatures and four-wheeled vehicles.
This French-inspired restaurant is not what you'd expect to find in a quaint seaside town. The feel is trendy but unpretentious; the space is open and airy; and the wine list rivals those you might see in Boston. The food itself is a wonderfully eclectic mix of country cooking and local seafood, with everything from escargots and oysters to bacon cheeseburgers and house-made squid-ink spaghettini represented on the menu. 2 School St., Marblehead, MA 5cornerskitchen.com.
Just off tour with folk legend Joan Baez, Dar Williams is now home in Belchertown savoring the critical success of her latest CD, Mortal City. When Williams originally moved to western Massachusetts from New York, she got a job with the Boston Opera Company and aspired to become a playwright or to direct operas. But the call of the coffeehouse was too strong, and Williams's modern folk style soon drew a following that recognized a new talent on the rise.
Bishop John M. Borders III of Mattapan’s Morning Star Baptist Church partnered with Boston Medical Center and Mattapan Community Health Center to use his house of worship as a vaccination site — and in so doing, gave the community a trusted place backed by a trusted leader to receive lifesaving shots. Now that’s what we call keeping the faith. 1257 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan, MA 02126, .
Successfully designing city dwellings essentially boils down to one thing: creative use of space. And architect Jeremy Jih, the master of scale and proportion behind Boston-based J.Roc Design, has demonstrated his unique solutions for building in tight confines time and time again. One recent standout? A South End loft made roomier and airier thanks to a dramatic — yet space-saving — 20-foot spiral staircase that connects the home’s main level to a rooftop garden. 27 Wareham St., Boston, MA 02118, jrocdesign.com.
For a preview of the next big thing in Boston restaurants, check out whatever’s cooking at CommonWealth Kitchen. Dorchester bakery Top Shelf cookies and jerk-spiced J.P. spot Jamaica Mi Hungry are among the dozens of success stories born out of the important incubator, which connects fledgling food entrepreneurs — especially woman- and BIPOC-owned oufits — to both production facilities and brick-and-mortar restaurant spaces, including an upcoming food court at MIT. 196 Quincy St., Dorchester, MA 02121, commonwealthkitchen.org.
Dogs and cats were not meant to live on kibble alone, so thank our lucky paws there’s Polkadog. Unlike the endlessly bland aisles you’ll find at big-box pet-food stores, this homegrown success stocks its shelves with unexpected products, from “Clam Chowda” treats to New England-farmed meat jerky, made daily at its South Boston kitchen. And thanks to the locally sourced ingredients, you don’t have to let Fido’s diet go to the dogs. 256 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 02118, polkadog.com.
Long one of our favorite Boston standups, this mother of two and tireless advocate for inclusion of children with special needs is a unique combination of high-alert neurosis and deadpan, low-key delivery. Since March 25, she’s been hosting her “Artisanal Comedy” show live on Instagram every Wednesday at 9 p.m., and her hilarious observations about the pandemic have kept us in stitches, even while we assiduously try to avoid the emergency room. MA bethanyvandelft.com.
Pitmaster Andy Husbands has fired up three Boston-area locations of his stylish, citified barbecue joint in just three years—and we still can’t get enough of his tender brisket and signature spicy-agave wings. Husbands’s smoky meats pair wonderfully with pit beans, pimiento mac ’n’ cheese, and other rib-sticking sides—not to mention selections from a miles-deep whiskey list that spans outposts. One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA thesmokeshopbbq.com.
Made from premium hormone- and antibiotic-free milk, the generous scoops at 50-plus-year-old Crescent Ridge are as thick and luscious as ever. And now that the Sharon-based ice cream maker has an operation in Boston Public Market, we can get our fix of cake batter, orange-pineapple, and salted-caramel chocolate-pretzel without leaving the city. 100 Hanover St., Boston, MA crescentridgedairybar.com.
Stel's deserves this honor if for no other reason than it introduced Boston to New York's Seize sur Vingt. The designer's crisp, colorful dress shirts work as well with jeans as with a suit, and have inspired a rabid following among guys tired of the giant fabric boxes that masquerade as button-downs at Brooks Brothers. Sweaters, pants, denim, and more from A.P.C., United Bamboo, Robert Geller, and Nom de Guerre round out a shop that balances fashion-forward with Bostonian conservative, without the cold snobbery of either. 334 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, .
Radhika Rana and Vivek Patel's year-and-a-half-old Beacon Hill shop is a breath of fresh air on a sometimes-stagnant retail scene. The Fashion Institute of Technology-trained duo eschew safe, seen-it-everywhere brands in favor of global and emerging designers like Elliatt, Kami, By Zoe, and Bodice, adding spice and surprise to Boston wardrobes. 107 Charles St., Boston, MA shopvira.com.