Things to Do This Week in Boston

Your frequently updated guide to getting off the couch and out of the house.

THINGS TO DO IN BOSTON (Clockwise from top left): Butterfly in the Sky at the Coolidge Corner Theatre; riot-grrrl legend and public intellectual Kathleen Hanna at the Wilbur Theatre; Next to Normal at the Central Square Theater; Fanny: The Right to Rock at the Boston Public Library; Love’s Tapestry: Poetry of the Feminine at the Multicultural Arts Center; The Rolling Stones at Gillette Stadium.

Jump to: | Tuesday, May 28 | Wednesday, May 29 | Thursday, May 30 | Friday, May 31 | Saturday, June 1 | Sunday, June 2 | Monday, June 3 | Art & Exhibitions | Upcoming |

Want to suggest an event? Email us.

Ongoing through Monday, June 3 (and Beyond)


Next to Normal
Director Pascale Florestal and music director Katie Bickford take a fresh look at Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2008 Broadway hit, which tackles the difficult topic of mental illness in an American nuclear family, reimagined here as a Black family, adding a new layer of social commentary.
$26-$95, Thursday, May 30 through June 23, Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Yellow Face
The Lyric Stage closes out the season with David Henry Hwang’s autobiographical satire about an Asian American playwright, a vocal critic of racist miscasting, who accidentally ends up casting a white actor for an mixed-race role in his own production—and rather than try to save face, he doubles down.
$60-$80, Friday, May 31 through June 23, Lyric Stage Company, 140 Clarendon St., Boston

Come From Away
A rare Broadway musical based on recent history, Come From Away tells of the remarkable generosity of the citizens of the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, who hosted 7,000 stranded airline passengers after 9/11—an act that temporarily doubled the town’s population.
$45-$295, Tuesday, May 28 through Sunday, June 2, Citizens Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston

Nüwa in Fairyland
Chinese and Western folklore collide in this world premiere from Boston-based playwright Brandon Zang. Our hero, Benji, set to play Puck in his high school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is taking the role very seriously. In the midst of his teenage confusion, he encounters the Chinese goddess Nüwa.
Pay-as-you-are, through June 1, Plaza Black Box, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston

Jennifer Mogbock playing Toni Stone; photo by Nile Hawver

Toni Stone
One of the country’s premier writers for the stage, Lydia Diamond is coming home to the Huntington Theatre Company—where she was a fellow in the mid-2000s—for her latest project. Toni Stone tells the story of the real-life female baseball player who was rejected for being Black by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and instead joined the Negro League in the early 1950s, becoming the first woman to play the sport professionally on a men’s team. —MATTHEW REED BAKER
$29–$129, through June 16, The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston

Romeo and Juliet
Actors’ Shakespeare Project mounts a new production of what may be Shakespeare’s most popular play with an eye for the issues of contemporary youth, promising to “thrill even those who fell asleep reading it in sophomore English class.” Marianna Bassham directs.
$20-$59.50, through June 2, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston


Bryson Tiller
The insistent romantic pean “Don’t” put R&B singer-songwriter Bryson Tiller on the map in 2015; his latest, “Whatever She Wants,” bolstered by an instantly catchy vocal melody and lithe string loop, is his best-charting track on the Billboard Hot 100 since that debut, thanks to—what else?—TikTok.
$71.40-$424.20, Thursday and Friday, May 30-31, MGM Music Hall ar Fenway, 2 Lansdowne St., Boston


You’re probably aware of the power of herbs to remedy a plethora of conditions, but how much do you really know? Learn yourself a thing or two at this two-day event, featuring a range of classes from farmers, herbalists, and others who swear by herbs, as well as a marketplace for locally made herbal products.
$40-$80, Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville


New England Aquarium Whale Watch Cruise
How long has it been since your last whale watch? Set sail for Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, a popular gathering spot for various cetaceans (dolphins, humpbacks, finbacks and minkes) and other marine creatures. The New England Aquarium’s experts will have plenty of fun facts about these remarkable animals.
$70, through November 27, leaves from 1 Long Wharf, Boston


Belgian-Congolese director Baloji’s impressive debut follows Koffi, a Congolese immigrant to Europe as he returns to his homeland with his white fiancé. The usual family tensions would be intimidating enough, but Koffi has a thornier problem: from birth, he was believed to have the mark of the devil.
$12.50-$14.50, Friday through Monday, May 31-June 3, Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge

It’s Such A Beautiful Day + Me
Equal parts absurdist and humanist, animator Don Hertzfeldt is nothing if not one of a kind. The uninitiated should check out his notorious short Rejected and then come see this double feature, pairing his hour-long 2012 offering It’s Such a Beautiful Day with his latest, simply titled Me.
$10.99-$14.49, opens Thursday, May 30, Alamo Drafthouse, 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston

Hit Man
Hit Man might sound like the title of the most generic action movie ever, but this is a Richard Linklater project, so it’s a bit cleverer than that. Glen Powell plays Gary Johnson, a real-life undercover cop who posed as an assassin, which was a good gig until he got in a bit over his head.
10.99-$14.49, Alamo Drafthouse, 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston

Ethan Hawke directs his daughter Maya (Stranger Things) in this biopic about the great Southern Gothic fiction writer Flannery O’Connor, known for combining of a love of the grotesque with a firm Catholic faith. It begins in 1950, when O’Connor was diagnosed with lupus, the disease that took her father’s life almost a decade earlier.
$13.50-$15.50, Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Anya Taylor-Joy joins the Mad Max universe in George Miller’s new prequel to Fury Road, playing a younger Furiosa, kidnapped from the relative paradise known as the Green Place of Many Mothers by the Bike Horde, led by Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). If that doesn’t make any sense, don’t worry—just enjoy all the crazy vehicles and breakneck post-apocalyptic action.
$12-$16, Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville

Courtesy photo

Newton South graduate John Krasinski may have been known in his teenage days for his skills on the basketball court, but these days, he’s famous for his Hollywood directorial prowess. With IF, Krasinski does it all—directing, coproducing, and writing the screenplay for a comedy about a girl who can see everybody’s imaginary friends, current and forgotten. And yes, he also costars in it alongside Ryan Reynolds, with imaginary friends voiced by his wife, Emily Blunt; Maya Rudolph; as well as fellow hometown heroes Steve Carell and Matt Damon.
$20.99, AMC Boston Common 19, 175 Tremont St., Boston

Back to Black
The pop culture machine seems to work ever more swiftly, so that already, just 13 years after her untimely death, there’s already a biopic about Amy Winehouse (Marisa Abela). Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shade of Grey) directs; Matt Greenhalgh’s screenplay covers the full and ultimately tragic arc of her career.
$12.99-$17.49, Alamo Drafthouse, 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston

This comedy from director Pamela Adlon concerns a pair of long-term besties (Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau) whose relationship comes to blows over the decision of one of them to have a child conceived during a one-night stand, without support from the father.
$13.50-$15.50, Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline

Evil Does Not Exist
Takumi, a widower, and his daughter Hana live in a secluded, pristine rural Japanese village whose peace is disturbed when a real estate company starts making moves toward building a luxury retreat for the urban upper crust in this film from writer-director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car).
$12-$16, Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville

Hallyu Hits: Korean Films that Moved the World
As a companion to Hallyu! The Korean Wave, the Museum of Fine Arts presents a monthlong selection of some of the biggest cinematic hits from South Korean directors, including Oldboy, Parasite, Burning, Poetry, Train to Busan, and Snowpiercer, as well as several films by and about diasporic Koreans, including Past Lives and Minari.
$15, through June 14, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

Jane Schoenbrun is back with I Saw the TV Glow.

I Saw the TV Glow
Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun, who disturbingly depicted the intersection between adolescence and online culture in 2021’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, is back with this vivid, ’90s-set follow-up, which continues their exploration of youth, media obsession, and the boundaries between fiction and reality.
$13.50-$15.50, Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline

The Fall Guy
Veteran Hollywood stuntman-turned-director David Leitch brings us the story of Colt (Ryan Gosling), a stuntman eager to get back to work after being injured. But when the film’s lead actor goes missing, this fake hero is forced to become a real one.
$12.99-$16.49, Alamo Drafthouse, 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston

Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) is back with this tale of Tashi (Zendaya), an injured tennis wunderkind. These days, the closest she can get to the court is coaching her husband, Art (Mike Faist). The tension is more than athletic: Art’s next challenger, Patrick, is his ex-bestie—and Tashi’s ex-lover.
$12.99-$16.49, Alamo Drafthouse, 60 Seaport Blvd., Boston

Civil War
Dispensing with any tedious backstory, director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) throws his audience right into the middle of a full-blown 21st century war between an America led by an authoritarian president (Nick Offerman) and a handful of breakaway states. We experience the action through the eyes of journalists, including photographer Lee, played by Kirsten Dunst.
$11.59-$15.49, AMC Boston Common 175 Tremont St., Boston

Dune: Part Two
Denis Villeneuve’s immersive adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel comes to a thrilling conclusion in its long-awaited second half, in which Timothée Chalamet—ahem, Paul Atreides—leads the Fremen in a battle to re-take the planet Aarrakis from the villainous and extremely pale Harkonnen dynasty.
$11.59-$15.49, AMC Boston Common 175 Tremont St., Boston


Copley Square Farmers Market
Farmers markets spring up across the Boston area this time of year, but Copley Square hosts the largest, offering a cornucopia of local produce, meats, dairy, baked goods, and prepared meals, as well as some non-edible products.
Free, Tuesdays and Fridays through November 26, Copley Square, 227-230 Dartmouth St., Boston


Heart Strings: Creating Connections to the World’s Children
This fun, interactive series of installations from UNICEF utilize lighting, music, and other media to encourage a sense of camaraderie between American kids and the kids of the rest of the world. Kids will get to dance, help write a song, learn about what life is like in far-off places, and find out how they can take action to help their international peers.
$18-$28 (kids free), through June 2, Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston


Seaport Sweat
Get a little closer to your best self with the help of these outdoor classes, taking place Monday through Saturday until the end of summer. The regular weekday evening schedule features Pilates, yoga, Zumba, barre, and more; some of Saturday’s rotating morning classes include dance cardio/sculpting workout Sculpt That Sass, the high-intensity Broncore Bootcamp, the circuit-style class Peaches Guaranteed, and the kickboxing-inspired Kick It By Eliza.
Free, through September 28, Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave., Boston


View Boston
If you’ve got visitors and you want to give them a killer 360-degree view of the city, or if you just want a peep yourself, you can hardly do better than View Boston, at the top of the Prudential Center. You can spring for a guided tour or just take it in yourself. The view isn’t all you’ll find up there—there’s also a restaurant, The Beacon, and Stratus, a cocktail bar. Higher-level ticket packages include a sample drink.
$29.99-59.99, open daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston

The Innovation Trail
This new tour focuses not on colonial and revolutionary Boston—that’s been thoroughly covered—but on the city’s history, down to the present, as a hub of science, medicine, and technology. You can pay for a guided tour on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday through the end of October, or opt for a self-guided experience whenever you want.
Free-$20, now open, starts in Central Square, Cambridge or Downtown Crossing, Boston

Want to suggest an event? Email us.

MONDAY (5/27/24)


Free Memorial Day Admission at the Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art
Check out the current offerings at two of Boston’s flagship museums, including exhibitions like Hallyu! The Korean Wave, Dress Up, Firelei Báez, and Wu Tsang: Of Whales. Notes: MFA tickets are first-come, first-serve and open to anyone with a Massachusetts zip code; ICA tickets can be reserved in advance starting Sunday at 10 a.m.
Free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston and Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

TUESDAY (5/28/24)


Kathleen Hanna
The influential feminist punk is on tour promoting her new autobiography, Rebel Girl, which covers, among other topics, her iconic projects like Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, her friendships with equally legendary figures like Kurt Cobain, her marriage to the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, and her long struggle with chronic Lyme disease.
$42 (book included), 7:30 p.m., The Wilbur, 246 Tremont St., Boston

WEDNESDAY (5/29/24)


The Antlers and Okkervil River
Fronted respectively by singer-songwriters Peter Silberman and Will Sheff, these running indie folk rock projects, touched by the same sort of clear-eyed melancholy as their contemporary Sufjan Stevens, are a natural pair for a double bill. There might be a bit of crossover as well, with the bands promising to play “old songs, new songs, [and] each other’s songs.”
$30-$35, 8 p.m., Crystal Ballroom, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville


Kelly McCaughan: Catholic Guilt
Relatable to anyone who, especially after the onset of adolescence, found the teachings of the Catholic Church a little hard to swallow, Kelly McCaughan’s brutally candid one-woman show leaves no sinful stone unturned as it covers topics like sexual awakening, unwanted pregnancy, and a night of bowling that leads straight to hell.
$15-$20, 7:30 p.m., The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville


Stuff You Should Know
Like a dispensary for people who get high on factoids, Stuff You Should Know has provided approachable rundowns on just about everything in its nearly 2,000 episode history. Recent episodes have covered J. Edgar Hoover, the trash in New York City, misophonia, and Atomic Clocks.
$40-$50, 7 p.m., Chevalier Theater, 30 Forest St., Medford


Punk Rock Aerobics for Kids
Designed for kids aged six to 10, these recurring Wednesday classes fuse aerobics and punk dancing to create a super fun workout, set to a high-energy rock soundtrack (don’t worry, it’s confirmed G-rated). Founder Hilken Mancini has become something of a punk celeb herself—in 2021, Green Day featured her in their video for “Here Comes The Shock”.
Free, 6 p.m., Curtis Hall, 20 South St., Jamaica Plain

THURSDAY (5/30/24)


The Rolling Stones
It’s 2024, but Mick and Keith are still here, survivors of many a reckless evening and umpteen temptations to split like so many of their classic rock peers. The naysayers will insist that “nobody” wants to see a pair of octogenarians rocking out, but the band’s generations of fans keep begging to differ.
$69.50-$815, 7:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Pl., Foxborough

Camera Obscura. / Photo by Robert Perry

Camera Obscura
Scottish indie-pop act Camera Obscura rivaled countrymen Belle & Sebastian for earnest, lighter-than-air songcraft in both bands’ 2000s heyday. They’ve released just two albums since 2009; the latter, Look to the East, Look to the West (featuring “Big Love) came out this month, just in time for your low-key summer jams playlist.
$41.25, 8 p.m., Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm. Ave., Boston

Nation of Language
This Brooklyn synth-pop trio’s 2023 album Strange Disciple plays like a new wave hit compilation from an alternate 1982, with touches of Kraftwerk, New Order, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, and even a little Devo—and yet, despite all the throwback energy, they still feel like they belong to the digitally captured 2020s.
$30, 8 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston


Legal pundits Joyce Vance, Jill Wine-Banks, Barb McQuade, and Kimberly Atkins Stohr have taken their show, revealing how the government and justice system really work, on the road. You may have seen any or all of them on MSNBC; Atkins Stohr may also be familiar to locals as a contributor to The Boston Globe and WBUR’s On Point.
$35.50-$45.50, 7:30 p.m., Shubert Theater, 265 Tremont St., Boston


Kay Redfield Jamison
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison wasn’t long into a career of studying and treating mood disorders when she had her first episode of severe mania—something she waited two more decades to reveal publicly via her 1995 autobiography An Unquiet Mind. She’s in Cambridge celebrating the paperback release of her most recent book, Fires in the Dark: Healing the Unquiet Mind.
Free-$20.19, 6 p.m., Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge

FRIDAY (5/31/24)


Prateek Kuhad
Inspired by artists like Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, and Fleet Foxes, Indian singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad writes in both Hindi and English, so most Americans won’t be able to understand all of his lyrics, but his sweet melodicism shines easily through language barriers. His most popular English tune is the sensitive ballad “cold/mess”; a Hindi highlight is the ebullient “Kasoor.”
$30, 7:30 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston

Strawberry Guy
Alex Stephens, the Welsh mastermind behind chamber pop project Strawberry Guy, takes his cues from 19th century romanticism as much as more recent sounds. The result is a lush, timeless dream space, evoking not so much nostalgia as the more mysterious experience of remembering itself.
$25-$30, 8 p.m., Crystal Ballroom, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville


Jesus Trejo
Jesus Trejo has many pots on the stove as a standup comic (he self-released his second special, Practicing?, last fall), actor and writer on Mr. Iglesias and This Fool, host of the PBS series Roots of Comedy,  children’s book author (Papá’s Magical Water Jug-Clock), and, last but definitely not least, taco journalist.
$33, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston

SATURDAY (6/1/24)


Though he’s had several hits in Europe and worked with big names like Steve Aoki, Diplo, and Chris Brown, chart success has mostly eluded Deorro back here in his homeland. His newest solo single is the bop “Me Caes Muy Bien,” a chipper electro pop tune with echoes of Peter, Bjorn, and John’s “Young Folks”.
$21.15, 9:30 p.m., Big Night Live, 110 Causeway St., Boston

The Ballroom Thieves
These local folk pop phenoms are back with their fifth LP, Sundust, continuing their streak of one-word titles as well as their tradition of writing open-hearted songs that each feel like a moment of clarity. One highlight: the gently melancholic “Everything is Everything.”
$25, 8:30 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge

Leo Blanco Trio
Venezuelan jazz pianist and local music educator Leo Blanco presents his unique spin on the work of Thelonious Monk at this afternoon show. Recently, Blanco’s super fun piece Poconos, inspired by a recording of indigenous African music, premiered via the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Percussion Department.
Free, 12 p.m., Boston Public Library, Roxbury Branch, 149 Dudley St., Roxbury


Giulio Gallarotti
Giulio Gallarotti has mixed his love of comedy with a passion for travelling, and not just for vacation—in Afghanistan, he helped set up a school that now serves 150 kids. He documented the experience for his series Places You Can Go, which has also covered his experiences in Rwanda and several countries south of the U.S. border.
$33, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston


Fanny: The Right to Rock
This 2021 documentary gave some well-deserved attention to the poorly remembered all-woman rock band Fanny, popular with fans and their peers throughout the early to mid 1970s.  Determined to be known for their talent for not merely for the novelty of their womanhood, they inspired a generation of girls to rock, from The Runaways to The Go-Gos.
Free, 1 p.m., Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston


World Ocean Day at New England Aquarium
World Ocean Day comes a week early to Boston with a set of free activities and attractions outside New England Aquarium, including a 43-foot inflatable whale named Salt, a lesson in traditional fishing methods from the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, an “Ask a Scientist” Booth, a “Build-a-Reef” game, and more.
Free, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston

SUNDAY (6/2/24)


Charlotte Day Wilson
This Canadian R&B singer broke through with 2016’s “Work”, a soulful, slow-building track that serves as an example of the persistence it preaches. Her second album, Cyan Blue, dropped at the beginning of May. Though firmly planted in the present, the sparse guitar work and carefully arranged harmonies of recent single “Canopy” gesture back to the R&B trends of the 2000s.
$30, 8 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge

Mi Casa
Witness a set of hip hop showdowns and add your voice to decide the winner along with a panel of industry judges. The participants, all up-and-comers, include Tony T, 1 Click Guapo, Jay Unordinary, Izzey, Rainy vs. Typo, and more than a half dozen other acts.
Free, 12:30 p.m., Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Dr., Cambridge


Jack Tucker
Though he prides himself as “a well-respected journeyman and bonafide legend in the Upstate New York regional comedy scene” in his bio, Jack Tucker has never darkened the doors of a Boston comedy venue—until Sunday, when he’ll be taking his over-the-top act, part madcap deconstruction of standup, part exercise in pure silliness, to Somerville.
$25-$30, 7:30 p.m., The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville


Love’s Tapestry: Poetry of the Feminine
Repeat Boston Music Award winner Amanda Shea heads up this lineup of engaging spoken word, with Capella Auriga and Essmaa Litim. In this clip from a recent appearance at GBH’s Outspoken Saturdays, Shea tackles social media: “We are conditioned to put a pound sign on tragedies,” she says. “Maybe it should be a stop sign.”
$35, 6 p.m., Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., Cambridge


SomerStreets: Carnaval
It’s a party in East Somerville, with three stages of performances from Esh Circus, Grooversity, Capoeira, Timba Messengers, Let’s Vamos, and others, a parade starring Samba Viva, Barranquilla Flavor, and Open Circus, more than 30 vendors, loads of delicious food, and family-friendly activities like the dunk tank, parkour, and a dance class from Samba Viva.
Free, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., 151 Broadway, Somerville


Butterfly in the Sky
Dig into the history of the beloved PBS kids’ Reading Rainbow, on which unflappably amiable host LeVar Burton took millennial kids just about everywhere, from the desert to the ocean to (famously) the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stick around for a panel discussion with GBH Kids’ Dorothea Gillim, Boston Public Library’s Julie Roach, and Brookline Booksmith’s Alex Schaffner.
$15.50, 2 p.m., Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline


Curated Vintage Market
Add some retro to your new summer look at this annual blowout, with more than 70 vendors from across New England—not just clothing but jewelry, decorative objects, furniture, art, and collectibles. As per tradition, there will also be a Mender’s Row on hand for small repairs to clothing you already own and advice for bigger ones.
Free, 12 p.m.-8 p.m., Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville

SoWa Open Market
This popular Sunday event features dozens of vendors selling their own jewelry, clothing, household items, art, and more, plus special performances and events, a chance to check out the open studios of dozens of local artists, and a rotating selection of food trucks. It runs every Sunday through October 27.
Free, 11 a.m-4 p.m., 500 Harrison Ave., Boston

MONDAY (6/3/24)


Morgan Talty
Maine-based fiction writer Morgan Talty (Night of the Living Rez) explores indigenous American experience with candor, humor, and a sense for the haunted. He’s in Cambridge to discuss his latest book, Fire Exit, about a man who comes to terms with his longstanding self-exile from the community due to fathering an illegitimate child.
Free, 7 p.m., Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Cambridge


Hew Locke: The Procession
This summer’s exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s massive Watershed annex marks the North American premiere of Hew Locke’s complex installation consisting of 140 life-sized, costumed human figures representing folks from all walks of life—a reflection, as Locke puts it, “on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people, finance, and power.”
Free, through September 2, ICA Watershed, 256 Marginal St., East Boston

Imagine Me and You: Dutch and Flemish Encounters with the Islamic World, 1450–1750
Bringing together 120 objects in a variety of media, this exhibition tells a story of peaceful cultural exchange between the European Christian Low Countries and the Muslim Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, complicating simplistic narratives of conflict and tension in the era.
Free, through August 18, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge

Firelei Báez, Untitled (Temple of Time), 2020. / Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York. / Photo by Phoebe d’Heurle.

Firelei Báez
Back in 2021, the Dominican-born Firelei Báez wowed visitors to the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Watershed, where she filled the huge East Boston warehouse space with a dreamlike installation combining West African indigo printing and Caribbean Sea imagery with a massive replica of the ruins of Haiti’s Sans-Souci Palace. Now she has her first museum retrospective at the ICA celebrating her paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works. The pieces, which meld Afro-Caribbean, folklore, sci-fi, and historical themes, may be smaller scale, but they pack the same visual and conceptual punch. —MATTHEW REED BAKER
through September 2, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

Dress Up
With more than 100 pieces of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and photos and illustrations going back more than a century, this show examines the ever-shifting meaning of fashion in our lives as a mode of both personal and political expression.
$27, through September 2, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

Songs for Modern Japan
The Museum of Fine Arts casts a spotlight on an obscure artistic subject: the covers of Japanese sheet music collections in the first half of the 20th century, which provided opportunities for graphic designers to explore popular movements like Art Nouveau, and, later on, served as real estate for imperial propaganda.
$27, through September 2, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

Framing Freedom: The Harriet Hayden Albums
Take a unique look at the lives of Boston’s Black abolitionist community through these selections from the photo albums of Harriet Bell Hayden, who escaped from enslavement in Kentucky with her family in 1844. Their new home on Beacon Hill served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
$10, through June 22, Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon Street, Boston

Hallyu! The Korean Wave
It might seem as if South Korea’s global cultural influence—Parasite, Squid Game, a K-pop group visiting the White House—is a recent phenomenon, but, the Museum of Fine Arts hopes to prove with this exhibition that it’s been brewing for years, and that today’s tastemakers have a strong sense of their national artistic history.
$34, through July 28, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

See also: The MFA’s “Korean Wave” Exhibition Is Thrilling

Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.
Drawing from the collections of more than twenty different museums and other institutions, this powerful travelling exhibition displays hundreds of photographs and objects—shoes, uniforms, bits of architecture, even a gas mask used by a camp officer—connected to the most notorious of the Nazi death factories.
$34.95, through September 2, The Saunders Castle at Park Plaza, 130 Columbus Ave., Boston

Service and Sacrifice: World War II—A Shared Experience
World War II was a conflagration that not only brought millions of Americans into military service overseas but also pervaded every aspect of life at home. No one was left untouched, from the most marginalized citizens at the time to the highest echelons of society, including the Kennedy family. In this vast exhibition, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum highlights how all Americans were affected in both honorable and unjust ways. Amid countless artifacts and documents, visitors can see JFK’s U.S. Navy dress jacket and wartime correspondence, the flight suit worn by Tuskegee airman Woodrow W. Crockett, and Ansel Adams’s photographs of Japanese Americans held in an infamous internment camp. —MATTHEW REED BAKER
$3-$18, through January 5, 2025, Columbia Point, Boston,

LaToya M. Hobbs, “Scene 5: The Studio,” from “Carving Out Time,” 2020–21.

LaToya M. Hobbs: It’s Time
This show collects, for the first time, the complete Carving Out Time series of woodcuts by Baltimore-based artist LaToya M. Hobbs. Depicting a single day in her own life, each panel is dense with the ephemera of identity, showing the various roles she plays as an artist, mother, wife, and teacher.
Free, through July 21, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge

Noriko Saitō, Japanese, “Sunbeam,” 2002. Ink and color on paper; drypoint with aquatint.

Future Minded: New Works in the Collection
Harvard Arts Museums shows off some of their latest acquisitions, many by living artists, some centuries old, all reflecting shifts in the institution’s views of history and its impact on the conditions of the present. Artists include Jean (Hans) Arp, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Willie Cole, Svenja Deininger, Baldwin Lee, Lucia Moholy, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Noriko Saitō, Melissa Shook, and many others.
Free, through July 21, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge

Our Time on Earth
Bringing together 12 installations from around the world, including such exotic experiences as a magnified look at plankton, a dive into the layers of a tree, and an interspecies dinner, this exhibition from London’s Barbican Centre aspires to a future in which humans coexist peacefully with their environment.
$20, through June 9, Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem

Wu Tsang: Of Whales
Worcester native Wu Tsang brings one part of her trilogy inspired by Moby-Dick to the Institute of Contemporary Art with this immersive installation that uses extended reality technology to try to get inside the mind of a sperm whale, creating a “lush, dreamy oceanscape.”
$20, through August 4, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And
Wellesley College’s Davis Museum hosts the first major career-spanning exhibition for alum Lorraine O’Grady, a multidisciplinary artist and writer who’s spent decades exploring the construction of Black womanhood, diasporic consciousness, and other socio-political concerns, particularly through the diptych, which she uses to hold and stage the tensions between contradictory ideas and self-concepts.
Free, through June 2, Davis Museum, 106 Central Street, Wellesley

Destiny Doorways
Using botanical imagery to depict the pathways of life, this installation by Mithsuca Berry engages the viewer with opportunities to reflect on where they’ve been and where they’re headed. You’ll get to choose from a variety of media to make your your own art in response, adding it to the chorus of other visitor responses.
$20, through June 15, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

WNDR Museum
This new gallery space in Downtown Crossing is hitting the ground running with iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Let’s Survive Forever and more than 20 other immersive installations, including The Wisdom Project, where visitors can add their own response to the question “What do you know for sure?,” and WNDR’s signature Light Floor, which changes in response to visitors’ movement.
$32-$38, 500 Washington St., Boston

The Institute of Contemporary Art has mined its own collection for work highlighting the use of words in visual art, with pieces from Kenturah Davis, Taylor Davis, Joe Wardwell, Rivane Neuenschwander, Shepard Fairey, Jenny Holzer, Glenn Ligon, and more.
$20, through January 5, 2025, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

The Lost Generation: Women Ceramicists and the Cuban Avant-Garde
Boston College’s McMullen Museum explores the unsung work of the women of the Taller de Santiago de las Vegas, a ceramics workshop near Havana, during the Cuban revolutionary era. Their striking modernist designs made a deep impression on a group of much better-known male painters and brought greater prestige to the art of ceramics in Cuba.
Free, through June 2, McMullen Museum of Art, 2101 Comm. Ave., Brighton

Day One DNA: 50 Years in Hip-Hop Culture
Featuring more than 200 objects, including studio reels, photos, party fliers, magazines, custom clothing, jewelry, recording equipment, and more from the archives of Ice-T and DJ Afrika Islam, this show looks at hip hop history both from a personal perspective and in its wider cultural context.
Free, through May 31, Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, 102 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge

Surveillance: From Vision to Data
If you’ve ever seen an ad online for something you only mentioned in conversation, you know you’re being watched—and your phone is just one of the more recent tools of the trade. This exhibition examines some historic instruments of surveillance, showing how they’ve been used, in the eerie words of its synopsis, “to transform individuals and landscapes into data.”
Free, through June 22, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

Resa Blatman’s Beauty and the Beasties from “Bats!” at the Peabody Essex Museum. / Photo courtesy of Resa Blatman

The Peabody Essex Museum would certainly win the award for Salem’s Best Halloween Museum Exhibition (if only it existed!) with its latest extravaganza. For starters, the PEM has gathered various pop-culture artifacts and artworks celebrating our favorite winged mammals by contemporary talents such as Somerville painter Resa Blatman and Argentine papercraftsman Juan Nicolás Elizalde. But the exhibition also has a natural-history element to it, stressing how bats are, in fact, indicator species that reveal the health of the environment around us. Best of all, visitors get to meet a small colony of real live Egyptian fruit bats, who are as adorable as they are fascinating. —MATTHEW REED BAKER
$20 (non-member general admission), through July 28, Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem

Want to suggest an event? Email us.



May 2024

  • Tuesday, May 28.
    • Kathleen Hanna: Rebel Girl Book Tour at the Wilbur Theater (246 Tremont St., Boston). [Info]
    • Shannon and the Clams at the Sinclair (52 Church St., Cambridge).

June 2024

  • Wednesday, June 5. Of Montreal at the Sinclair (52 Church St., Cambridge).
  • June 8. Boston Kids Comics Fest returns with another round of workshops and roundtables that aim to foster the next generation of cartoonists and comic-book illustrators. This one-day event, held at Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex on June 8, will feature lectures by graphic novelists who are well-known stars to any schoolkid these days, such as Bad Kitty’s Nick Bruel, Amulet’s Kazu Kibuishi, and Lauren Tarshis of the popular I Survived series. Best of all, the festival has set aside quiet spaces, so your budding Stan Lee or Alison Bechdel can get some creative work done. —Matthew Reed Baker
  • June 10. Allie X at the Sinclair (52 Church St., Cambridge).

July 2024

  • July 17, 2024. The 50th anniversary of Best of Boston Soirée @ Roadrunner, 89 Guest St., Boston.
Want to suggest an event? Email us.