A week of events in Cambridge, Somerville: Arts First Fest, Open Studios, MayFair, more
Cambridge Comedy Underground Television Taping from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Cambridge Community Television, 438 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Free, but seating is limited, so make a reservation. The channel’s television comedy showcase includes sets from Yael Gavish Breen, Chris Justice, Ellen Sugarman, Stirling Smith, Sunny Dennis, Alex Giampapa, Amanda Cee, Jamie Aird, mystery performers and hosts Demetrius “Big D” Hullum and Casey McNeal. Information is here.
“Around Harvard Square” novel reading from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. Journalist and author C.J. Farley, former editor of The Harvard Lampoon, brings a breezy thriller set at Harvard and at the Lampoon in the 1990s, exploring the roles race and class play in higher education. Gish Jen calls it “a hysterical romp” and “a provocative pleasure.” Information is here.
Singer-Songwriter Night from 8:30 to 11:35 p.m. at ZuZu, 474 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Tickets are $7, contributing to the artist payout at this 21-plus show. Four local acts perform 35-minute sets: Meaghan Collins; Andy Brink; Rivers Between; and Hana Kahn. Information is here.
Mostly Mozart with mezzo-soprano Marana Avant from noon to 1 p.m. at the MIT Chapel, 50 Massachusetts Ave., Area II. Free. A lunchtime concert joined by baritone Thomas Lynch, soprano Haley Bryant and soprano Lizabeth Malanga. Information is here.
Sara Mae at the Boston Poetry Slam, from 7:15 p.m. to midnight at The Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. There’s a $3 cover for this 18-plus show. Sara Mae’s work can be found in Tinderbox, Peach Mag, Breakwater Review and elsewhere, and her first chapbook, “Priestess of Tankinis,” is out via Game Over Books. She is featured after an hour of open mic starting at 8 p.m. Information is here.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) in the Loeb Experimental Theater, 64 Brattle St., Harvard Square. Free, but reserve here. This production of the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play – adapted from the diary of a young Jewish girl time hiding from the Nazis in an attic – aims to spark discussion with an immersive lobby experience and post-show talkbacks. Information is here.
Harvard Arts First Festival starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, noon Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday in and around Harvard Yard. Mostly free. Hundreds of performers and performances show the breadth of Harvard student and faculty creativity and talent in this annual showcase, starting with a Harvard Arts Medal ceremony to honor poet Tracy K. Smith and including music, theater, dance and “Make Art” stations for the public. A 34-page guide and schedule to flip through (but for some reason not download) is here. A more traditional online approach is here. A map of filterable events is here.
Tufts Symphony Orchestra spring concert from 8 to 10 p.m. at Granoff Music Center at Tufts University, 20 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Free, but musicians will collect optional donations at the door to help fund an upcoming tour. The works old and new at this final concert of the season include two pieces by faculty composers: Kareem Roustom’s “Aleppo Songs,” a depiction of urban folk songs from Syria, and John McDonald’s “Braced,” a tension-filled piece constantly preparing the audience for something that never will happen. Thomas Risoleo solos with the orchestra in Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, and the concert closes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. Information is here.
Global Arts, Eats & Beats (Japan Edition) from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Cambridge Innovation Center Cambridge, 245 Main St., Kendall Square. Free, but register here. In partnership with Boston’s ArtWeek, the Japan Society of Boston and Fab@CIC, this event includes interactive and fine arts, a Japanese tea ceremony and bite-sized samples of cuisine from local restaurants including Fuji in Kendal, Cafe Sushi, Pabu and Gen Sou En, and music from Berklee College of Music students and Taiko drummers with contemporary Japanese dance. Information is here.
Zefira Trio classical music from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free. Olga Patramanska-Bell on violin, Ashima Scripp on cello and Eleanor Perrone on piano perform Schubert’s Piano Trio in Eb, D. 929, as well as works by Granados and Schumann. Information is here.
“A Sea Symphony” from 8 to 9 p.m. at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., near Harvard Square. Tickets range from $3 to $35. The Harvard Choruses mark the bicentennial of poet Walt Whitman with a rare performance of this work by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (with text by Whitman). Information is here.
Astronomy After Hours from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, on the Cambridge border. Free. Friday nights from April to October – weather permitting – brings a variety of hands-on astronomy and space science activities, including viewings through the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope in the Gilliland Observatory. Information is here.
Harvard Arts First Festival from noon to 10 p.m. Friday and continuing Saturday and Sunday in and around Harvard Yard. Mostly free. A 34-page guide and schedule to flip through (but for some insane reason not download) is here. A more traditional online approach is here. A map of filterable events is here.
Somerville Public Library Comix Con from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave., in the Winter Hill neighborhood. Free. It’s Free Comic Book Day, and along with a good excuse to stop by stores comes this second annual all-ages celebration of fandom – film and television, science fiction and fantasy, comic books and graphic novels, anime, books, cartoons, gaming and collectibles – that’s grown by an hour from last year. It includes trivia, a “Princess Bride”-themed lightsaber battle and library-wide scavenger hunt as well as a comic drawing workshop, vendors and panel discussion with artists Liz Bolduc Sux (her work is shown), Anna Christine and Dan Mazur. Costumes are welcome. Information is here.
Taza Chocolates’ annual Block Party from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Taza Chocolate, 561 Windsor St., between Inman and Union squares, Somerville. Free. Taza Chocolate’s unofficial welcome party for spring returns, shutting down the block in front of its factory for an afternoon of food and desserts from Bartleby’s Seitan Stand, North East of the Border, Taco Party, Buenas and Honeycomb Creamery; beer and cider from Notch Brewing and Far From The Tree; and music and dancing with Kitzner Vassor (including bachata and zouk dance lessons) and the Desperate Measures Street Band. Information is here.
Somerville Open Studios from noon to 6 p.m. (and repeating Sunday) throughout Somerville. Free. Explore the work of more than 300 artists of all sorts at dozens of locations all over Somerville in this 21st year of peeks inside a vibrant and diverse art scene. Look for trolleys, volunteers and map-filled kiosks around the city to help with the experience. A kids’ exhibit is up at the Center for Arts at the Armory. Information is here.
Arrowsmith Press Presents 4 Poets from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow Park, near Harvard Square. Free. Romeo Oriogun, Mitch Manning, Martin Edmunds and Thomas Sayers Ellis read from new chapbooks. Information is here.
Annual Harvard Powwow from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Lesley University’s Brattle Lawn, 99 Brattle St., West Cambridge near Harvard Square. Free. Celebrate indigenous peoples at this Harvard-hosted annual powwow, led by a committee of Native American students from the college and graduate schools and featuring singers, artists and dancers from the Harvard community, Greater Boston and from tribes across the United States and Canada. The grand entry is at 1 p.m. Information is here.
Floor Lords 38th Anniversary breakdance battle from 3 to 9 p.m. (and repeating Sunday) at Sonia, 10 Brookline St., Central Square. Tickets are $20. The first prizes are $500, with judged dancing to tunes from DJs Razor Cut, Fleg and B ryan. Information is here.
“Mozart and his Bloch-Mates” concert at 8 p.m. in Harvard’s John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, 3 Oxford St., just north of Harvard Square and Harvard Yard. General admission is $10. The Mozart Society Orchestra’s spring performance includes classics by Boyce, Chopin, Bloch and Mozart, featuring pianist Sho Yamasaki. Information is here.
“Julian’s Fasti” from 8 to 10 p.m. at Granoff Music Center at Tufts University, 20 Talbot Ave., Somerville. Free. Colin Gee and composer and pianist John McDonald premiere a piece using Ovid’s “The Book of Days” to comment on emotions and behaviors stemming from religious, political and antiquarian schemes. Information is here.
Harvard Arts First Festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and continuing Sunday in and around Harvard Yard. Mostly free. A 34-page guide and schedule to flip through (but for some insane reason not download) is here. A more traditional online approach is here. A map of filterable events is here.
MayFair from noon to 6 p.m. in Harvard Square. Free. (Note: This event has been moved to the rain date of May 19.) This 36th annual spring kickoff celebrates the 60th anniversary of Club Passim, which will run a stage outside the Harvard T stop with bands The Wolff Sisters, The Blue Ribbons, Dietrich Strause, Arc Iris, Billy Wylder and Session Americana. Expect also additional entertainment stages, more than 60 artisan booths with eclectic art, clothing, jewelry and more, a mass of international food vendors and beer gardens by Beat Brew Hall, The Hourly Oyster House, Alden & Harlow, The Sinclair and Grendel’s Den, the traditional chalk art, trips of the event grounds aboard the Roaming Railroad and more. Information is here.
Ramp It Up: Bauhaus for the 21st Century dance at 4 and 5 p.m. on the Prescott Street lawn between the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., near Harvard Square. Free. A site-specific, roughly 20-minute performance in conjunction with “The Bauhaus and Harvard” exhibition and evoking the 1929 Metal Party, the most famous of the elaborate, themed celebrations staged at the Bauhaus. The performance combines drag, hip-hop and contemporary dance in a hybrid fashion show and dance party directed and choreographed by students Tiffany Lau and Daniel Rivera, with live sound design by DJ Saskia (Luke Martinez). Information is here.
Cafe Zing Poetry Open Mic from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Porter Square. Free. The event turns 1. Sign-ups begin at 5:15 for three-minute time slots. Information is here.
“Pete’s 100th,” a Peter Seeger Singalong Concert from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow Park, near Harvard Square. General admission is $20, and tickets haven’t yet sold out for this celebration of protest folk singer Pete Seeger near what would be his 100th birthday (May 3). The chorus is led by Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, creators of the songbooks “Rise Up Singing” and “Rise Again” along with Emma’s Revolution (Pat Humphries and Sandy O), Sally Rogers and Nick Page, all of whom sang with Seeger. This concert benefits the Cambridge Material Aids & Advocacy Program. Information is here.
Pindrop Sessions’ “the senses of summer” from 7 to 10 p.m. at Aeronaut Brewing, 14 Tyler St., near Union Square, Somerville. General admission is $20 (with fees, $22.85). A season finale: Soprano Margot Rood takes on composer Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer of 1915,” which uses text by poet James Agee, and composer Mary Bichner – a synaesthetic, meaning that when she hears sound she sees color, and vice versa – has written a piece using the same source to be performed by Phoenix, the brewery’s orchestra-in-residence. Tasting Counter has designed a menu of small plates inspired by Bichner’s compositional color palette, and there’s a specially brewed Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA beer inspired by Agee’s text. Information is here.
Harvard Arts First Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday in and around Harvard Yard. Mostly free. A 34-page guide and schedule to flip through (but for some insane reason not download) is here. A more traditional online approach is here. A map of filterable events is here.
Somerville Open Studios from noon to 6 p.m. throughout Somerville. Free. Information is here.
Floor Lords 38th Anniversary breakdance battle from 3 to 9 p.m. (and repeating Sunday) at The Middle East Downstairs, 480 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Tickets are $20. The first prizes are $1,000, with judged dancing to tunes from DJs Lean Rock & B Ryan. Information is here.
This post was updated April 29, 2019, to correct the name of Taza’s annual block party.