Friday, July 12, 2024


Valente Summer Sundays launch party from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cambridge Library Valente Branch, 826 Cambridge St., Wellington-Harrington. Free. A performance by folk artist Grace Givertz for good listeners, bubbles and chalk art for the distracted, and refreshments for all are at this start to a summer-fun series. Information is here.

Poet and translator Martha Collins. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Poetry reading from 3 to 4 p.m. at Longfellow House and the Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St., West Cambridge. Free. Local poets Martha Collins (“Because What Else Could I Do”) and Russo-American Philip Nikolayev (the translator behind “The Star of Dazzling Ecstasy: 79 Poems by Alexander Pushkin”) perform in the open air at this historic site. Information is here. 

Conner Habib reads from “Hawk Mountain” in conversation with Paul Tremblay at 6 p.m. at Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Porter Square. Free. The host of the podcast “Against Everyone with Conner Habib” – which features conversations with artists, intellectuals and countercultural figures and covers topics as wide-ranging as punk rock, philosophy, pornography and occultism – has plenty of nonfiction writing out there; this is a first novel, and follows an English teacher’s reluctant reintroduction to his high school bully. Interviewer Paul Tremblay is the author of horror such as “Disappearance at Devil’s Rock” and crime novel “The Little Sleep.” Information is here.


A Book Club Walks Into a Bar from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Lamplighter Brewing, 284 Broadway, The Port. Free. Lamplighter and the Cambridge Public Library team up to highlight contemporary works from marginalized voices in this series taking place in the brewery’s back taproom. (Craft brews are, of course, for sale.) This time the book is “In Every Mirror She’s Black” by Lola Akinmade Åkerström, and bookworms should expect to discuss what they learned from it and were touched by. In the lives of three Black women intertwined around the enigmatic chief executive of a Swedish marketing company, “Åkerström paints an admirably rich portrait of a particular culture,” Kirkus says. Information is here.


Boston Bollywood dancers in a June 18 show. (Photo: Boston Bollywood via Facebook)

Bollywood Night from 5 to 8 p.m. at Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square. Free. The Boston Bollywood dance group performs and attendees can get free henna tattoos and samosas, all sponsored by the office of Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. Information is here.

Foundry “Jukebox” installation release party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the patio of the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Free. So far 25 community members have shared stories for artist Elisa H. Hamilton’s repurposed 1960 Seeburg jukebox, which will eventually hold 100 stories accessible in the Foundry community building when it opens in September in East Cambridge. The 25 stories will be released online this summer; this event is the kickoff. Information is here.

“City as Canvas: Above the Free Walls” film screening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Library Valente Branch, 826 Cambridge St., Wellington-Harrington. Free. This documentary introduces the artists from around Boston and the world who create – and re-create – Central Square’s Graffiti Alley. Director Weiying Olivia Huang and a guest artist will take questions and discuss the making of the film, public art and the street art community. Information is here.


CPL Park Sounds concert from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Joan Lorentz Park at 457 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge (in front of the Cambridge Main Library). Free. Bring a blanket or a chair and just try to use them instead of dancing as Soulelujah DJ Johnny Stevens spins soul, funk and R&B vinyl; then comes the Afro-pop and Mozambique-inspired jazz sounds of Albino Mbie. Information is here.

Full Moon Celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. at Magazine Beach, at the river end of Magazine Street in the Cambridgeport neighborhood. Free. Celebrate the transformation of plastic
trash into art for Mass Audubon’s Nature Center by Cambridge artist Michelle Lougee and community volunteers. The party features nature and art activities organized by Mass. Audubon and New Orleans-style jazz by The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble. Organizers suggest bringing a picnic. Information is here.

Screen on the Green showing of “Encanto” from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m. at Timothy J. Toomey Park, Third and Roger streets, East Cambridge. Free. This city-sponsored event travels from park to park over the summer showing popular films – in this case, last year’s Disney film about a Colombian teen frustrated by being the only member of her family without magical powers. Families and TikTokers may know it best as the source of the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Information is here.

Mark Leibovich reads from “Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission” at 7 p.m. at the Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. Leibovich, of The Atlantic magazine, tracks how Trump scorners Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and others transformed into Trump sycophants, asking: “What would these politicos do to preserve their place in the sun, or at least the orbit of the spray tan? What would they do to preserve their ‘relevance’? Almost anything, it turns out.” Well-fitting masks are required. Information is here.


Rapper Lilah is one of three performers at a Thursday showcase. (Photo: Niklas Weikert)

Ava Sophia, Lilah! and Neemz play from 6 to 9 p.m. at Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square. Free. Music publication Sound of Boston and the artist management company S203 presents this Listen Local concert series, with the laid-back R&B-inflected acoustic pop of Ava Sophia; rap by Brockton-born Lilah!; and genre-hopping tunes of Palestinian-American model and artist Neemz. Information is here.

Miss Lamplighter 2022 Drag Race from 8 to 10 p.m. at Lamplighter CX, 110 N. First St., North Point. Tickets are $25, with $10 of every ticket benefiting the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth. Six queens go heel-to-heel in competition for the title, lip sync battle included, with the audience voting for the winner. Information is here.

SomerMovieFest presents “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” at 8:40 p.m. at Lincoln Park at the Albert F. Argenziano School, 290 Washington St., Ward Two, Somerville. Free. As the first of a summertime six-pack of free outdoor movie screenings from the city, “Afterlife” is a fun-enough ride that serves as both franchise sequel and reboot. It recaptures the vibe of the 1980s films with cameos and some explicit borrowing – except, you know, for kids. Information is here.


This Is How We Roll! rollerskating from 1 to 4 p.m. at Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square. Free. Laraland Roller Disco converts the outdoor Starlight space into a skating rink – though with no rental equipment on hand – and provides music by DJs Mo, Nomadik and Bruno. Information is here.

Author Morgan Talty. (Photo: Morgan Talty)

Morgan Talty reads from “Night of the Living Rez: Stories” at 7 p.m. at the Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. Talty, short story writer and citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation, pushes into the unexpected to explore what it means to persevere after tragedy. From the tale of a boy unearthing a jar holding an old curse and setting into motion his family’s unraveling, to the misadventures of a swindler who finds a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into snow, the stories are “sharply atmospheric, daring and intensely moving,” author Laura van den Berg blurbs. Talty will be in conversation with Grace Talusan, author of “The Body Papers.” Well-fitting masks are required. Information is here.


Summer StoryWalk for kids from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. citywide. Free. Eight parks around Cambridge are set up through Aug. 21 for StoryWalks, in which a children’s book is hung page by page along a path so families can read, walk and talk together. Information is here.

ArtBeat from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Davis Square, Somerville. Free. The city’s signature arts festival, now in its 36th year, returns with 100 craft, community and food vendors, with two stages of music and a dance showcase – this year along the theme of “Rise,” a look at what’s overhead as well as “What’s beyond us, what’s within reach? What trends and stats are rising in Somerville? How might we rise to further our dreams and goals?” Information and a schedule is here.

Release Your Dance from noon to 8 p.m. at Centanni Park, Third and Otis streets, East Cambridge. Free. DJs SavSoul, KCiv, Cruzz, Dende and Steve Rhythm with Luna del Flor spin at the 10-year anniversary show of an outdoor dance series from the Multicultural Arts Center. Information is here.

Taste of Carnival from 1 to 3 p.m. at Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square. Free. A mini showcase to whet appetites for the full-fledged, Caribbean-tinged fall Cambridge Carnival. Expect music, dance, face-painting, storytelling, live painting and vendors, as well as a chance to design your own T-shirt; decorate your own carnival hats and masks; and see demonstrations by carnival artists such as a costume designer and steel pan performers. Information is here.

“Forgotten Souls” art public celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. at History Cambridge’s Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, 159 Brattle St., West Cambridge. The “Forgotten Souls of Tory Row” installation by Black Coral is public art up through the summer to remember the enslaved people of Cambridge’s wealthiest families – but it gets additional context at this event with a libation ceremony, readings by L’Merchie Frazier and drumming by Cornell Coley. Information is here.

Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome of “Yo, Is This Racist?” (Photo: Sub-Optimal Podcasts)

“Yo, Is This Racist?” Live! at 7 p.m. in the Somerville Theatre’s Crystal Ballroom, 55 Davis Square. Tickets are $27. This podcast – which answers submitted questions about whether something is, in fact, racist – comes to town with charismatic hosts Andrew Ti, a writer on ABC’s “mixed-ish” and creator of the original “Yo, Is This Racist?” blog; and actor, comedian and musician Tawny Newsome of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” “Space Force” and “Physical.” Information is here.


Vend N’ Speak Summer Pop-Up fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. at Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square. Free, but donations are strongly encouraged. Samantha Benoit of Mumu’s Pikliz – the Haitian condiment of pickled cabbage, carrots and peppers – presents spoken-word performances and music by DJ Bizz while visitors shop the wares of fellow local vendors. Information is here.

Poet Patricia Smith reads Sunday in West Cambridge. (Photo: Patricia Smith)

Poet Patricia Smith reads from 3 to 4 p.m. at Longfellow House and the Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St., West Cambridge. Free. The New England Poetry Club presents the Golden Rose Poetry Award – one of America’s oldest literary prizes – to Smith, author of eight books of poetry including 2017’s “Incendiary Art” and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. Information is here.