A week of events in Cambridge and Somerville, from ‘Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll’ to a Poetry Brothel
Sunday, Dec. 4
Milkweed Blowout seed giveaway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fresh Pond ranger station at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, in West Cambridge. Free. Pick up a packet of milkweed seeds and instructions on how to plant them to boost levels of the plan in Massachusetts – an important factor in helping the monarch butterfly bounce back from endangered status. Information is here.
Lady Ray and her Jazz Birds from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. There’s a $5 suggested donation. Standards sung by Raynel Shepard, backed by Ben Broder on piano, Dave Zox on bass and Miki Matsuki on percussion. Information is here.
“High Spirits and Naughty Hijinks” faculty artist recital at 8 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested, and attendees must pre-register. Singer Pamela Dellal and harpsichordist Vivian Montgomery perform charming and surprisingly witty pieces that seem almost like parodies of the ultra-serious chamber cantata form, with protagonists who misbehave naughtily in a way that feels contemporary. A highlight is Bach’s comic cantata “Die grazien,” or “The Three Graces.”Information is here.
Monday, Dec. 5
Fresh Pond nature walk from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Free. Meet in the courtyard of the Cambridge Public Library Collins Branch, 64 Aberdeen Ave., West Cambridge, from which park ranger Tim Puopolo walks and talks about what’s growing, changing and blooming in the neighborhood. Information is here.
Science on Stage: “Degrees” from 6 to 8 p.m. at The MIT Museum, 314 Main St., Kendall Square. Tickets are $5 or $20 depending on seating. This series of play readings explores provocative questions at the intersection of science, technology and society, starting with Tira Palmquist’s look at climate change and personal grief, directed by Paige Clark. A discussion follows with scientist Susan Solomon of MIT’s Atmospheric, Oceans and Climate program and Debra Wise of the Catalyst Collaborative@MIT. Information is here.
Lockwood Ensemble jazz and contemporary music at 8 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested. Instructor John Lockwood has been featured in performances with Dance Umbrella, the Fringe, Makoto Ozone, Danilo Perez and others. Information is here.
Tuesday, Dec. 6
Peter Guralnick reads from “The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll: The Illustrated Story of Sun Records and the 70 Recordings That Changed the World” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Free, but registration is required. Rock was born in Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, bringing the world Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins and their “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless,” “I Walk the Line,” “Mystery Train” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” Guralnick will be in conversation with author and musician Bill Janovitz at this Harvard Book Store event. Masks are recommended but not required, except when getting books signed. Information is here.
Smut Slam from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. There’s a $10 suggested donation at the door for this 18-plus show. Real-life, first-person sex stories from eight to 10 tellers drawn at random, competing for the best five-minute tale of debauchery before a panel of local celebrities. They can’t use notes, props or hate speech – but pretty much anything else goes. “Stories are often funny and/or epic wins, but we want to encourage people to consider sharing their sad, disturbing, poignant, serious, simple and/or ’fail’ experiences too,” organizers say. Lucas Brooks hosts. Information is here.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
“Art in Public” film screening from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the Cambridge Library Valente Branch, 826 Cambridge St., Wellington-Harrington. Free. Weiying Olivia Huang shows her documentary about the benefits of public art, shown through murals, performances, sculptures and installations in Cambridge. Information is here.
“Sacred Songs and Rituals: Ladino Music with Sarah Aroeste” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Free. The Sephardic culture of Macedonia and Greece is presented by the singer-songwriter, author and speaker in an interactive program that integrates music, storytelling and music. Information is here.
Poets Martha Collins and Anna V. Q. Ross read 7 p.m. at the Grolier Poetry Book Shop on 6 Plympton St., Harvard Square. There is a suggested donation starting at $5. Proof of vaccination and masks are required. Information is here.
Thursday, Dec. 8
Student art sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center, 1801 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square. Free. Students’ flat art, knitwear, jewelry, pottery and more for sale as gifts and a way to support local emerging artists. Information is here.
“Broadway: Agent of Change” cabaret at 4 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested, and attendees must pre-register. This class performance looks at how musical theater is a starting point for social change, using “The Color Purple,” “Next to Normal” and “Fun Home” as examples of the medium’s impact on culture. Information is here.
T.S. Eliot Memorial Reading with Anne Waldman from 6 to 7:45 p.m. in the Woodberry Poetry Room at The Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St., Harvard Square. Free. A reading by the author of more than 40 books of poetry and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Waldman is introduced by Eleni Sikelianos. Information is here.
Inman Square Holiday Stroll from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cambridge and Hampshire streets. Free. There are many ways to support local businesses at an event featuring a pop-up market, Santa Claus and a petting zoo, free hot chocolate, music from The School of Honk and a premiere Screening of “Wild at Heart” by artist Sue Bell. Information is here.
MIT Museum After Dark from 6 to 9 p.m. at The MIT Museum, 314 Main St., Kendall Square. General admission is $20 for this 21-plus event. A monthly event adds demonstrations, tastings and interactive play to access to galleries, live music, a cash bar and bites by culinary specialists from around the city. Information is here.
Illuminations tours of holiday lights at 6 p.m. Free. An online map of the best holiday displays goes live and the trolley once used to bring people from stop to stop is dead, having grown too expensive. Caroling is expected. Information is here.
Ellen Cassedy reads from “Working 9 to 5: A Women’s Movement, a Labor Union and the Iconic Movie” at 7 p.m. at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. The founder of the 9 to 5 Organization of Women Office Workers in Boston that inspired the box-office hit and Dolly Parton song discusses her book and the history behind it. Well-fitting masks are required. Information is here.
The Poetry Brothel: Steamy Solstice at 7:30 p.m at Somerville Theatre’s Crystal Ballroom, 55 Davis Square. General admission is $41 (with fees, $45.13) for this 21-plus event. An interactive literary cabaret series with options for private, one-on-one poetry experiences. Live music by Genie Santiago is featured. The Poetry Brothel uses its platform to support sex workers and to educate audiences about the industry. Information is here.
Friday, Dec. 9
D.T. Max reads from “Finale: Late Conversations with Stephen Sondheim” at 7 p.m. at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Free. The New Yorker staff writer gives a front-row seat to an unusual and intimate three-year pas de deux with the great composer and lyricist. Max will be in conversation with Christopher Ehlers of the Boston Theater Critics Association and DigBoston. Well-fitting masks are required. Information is here.
“Depths of Wikipedia” live from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. Tickets are $25. Annie Rauwerda brings her explorations into the weirdest, wildest, stupidest and most delightfully mundane corners of everyone’s favorite free encyclopedia to the stage, accompanied by comedians and Wikipedians. Information is here.
Castle of Our Skins’ “Her Phantom Happiness” concert at 8 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested, and attendees must pre-register. A group focused on cultural curiosity and celebrating Black artistry is back for its fourth annual residency, culminating in this performance of works by Anthony R. Green and friends. Information is here.
Miss Lamplighter Holiday Drag Show Spectacular from 8 to 10:30 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. Five queens go heel-to-heel in lip sync battles and other fun, themed for the holidays. Information is here.
Saturday, Dec. 10
“PKD” performance from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave., in the Winter Hill neighborhood. Free. Somerville-based synthesizer musician Robin Amos presents a multimedia suite inspired by the writing of Philip K. Dick – the first time it’s been shown in its entirety. Amos and Blaik Ripton performs with visuals by Allison Tanenhaus and Vidumami. Information is here.
Al Park comedy album recording from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $20. The Boston Comedy Festival winner and national touring comic records his debut album. Information about the early show is here; information about the late show here.
Orchestra FLEX at 8 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested. Andy Kozar shows off the concept of the “reimagined orchestra,” which provides an opportunity for large ensemble projects that aren’t limited by traditional instrumentation. Information is here.
Poet’s Theatre with Lo Galluccio and Andrés Amitai Wilson at 8 p.m. at The Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville. Admission is $10. Andres reads from his “Glitter Glue the Slowly Sinking Idols” collection; Galluccio performs songs from her “Notfor Amnesia” album, due for release in January. Information is here.
Sunday, Dec. 11
Voices of Poetry in Cambridge from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Free. Mary Buchinger, Tom Daley, Chard DeNiord, Paul Nemser and Tzynya Pinchback read, with music by guitarist, composer and musicologist Sebastien Jean. Information is here.
“Dear Friend” faculty artist recital at 3 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, 27 Garden St., Harvard Square. Free, but a donation of $10 or more is suggested, and attendees must pre-register. Chamber ensemble-in-residence A Far Cry performs works capturing the moments composers spend with friends, colleagues and mentors, including Saariaho’s “Aure for Violin and Viola,” Stucky’s “Nell’ombra, Nella luce,” Brahms’ “Hymn in veneration of the great Joachim for two violins and double bass” and more. Information is here.
Michael John Ciszewski performs “Lovefool” from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets are $20. Bridging stand-up comedy and confessional, the show “brims with heart and humor and makes a starry-eyed argument for falling head-over-heels through life.” Information is here.