Here’s the thing about summer: It’s nice until it’s not. Or rather, it’s really fun until it’s really hot. This month, we’re rushing headfirst into (safe) outdoor socialization, while keeping an eye towards an exit for the indoors should UV rays demand it. So, spend some time amongst the greens of Olmstead Park, then consider the convenience of Roxbury International Film Festival's virtual screening program, Roxfilm@Home. Or, gather in the Egleston Branch Library’s permaculture garden for American Sounds and Mozart; or slip into St. Paul's Parish in Harvard Square for musical communion with Rachmaninoff.
Like our summer plans, June is all about flexibility. Make it work for you.
Boston Public Library, Egleston Square Branch
June 4, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
The Egleston Square branch of the Boston Public Library invites the Sheffield Chamber Players for an afternoon of music by contemporary composers — and a Mozart — with a theme of the blues and American tradition. Kenji Bunch's "Diddley Bow" features the instrument's echoes of the "crying blues" sound; Julia Wolfe's "The Four Marys" leans into Appalachian musical aesthetic; Evan Ziporyn's "Be-In" for String Quartet and Bass Clarinet in B-flat recalls sounds of the '60s and the minimalism of Terry Riley; and Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A-major, K581 is grounded in what was a financially and mentally tough moment of the Austrian composer's life.
St. Paul's Parish, Harvard Square
June 5, 3 p.m. (2:15 pre-concert talk)
$20 student, $40 general admission, $60 premium
During the first week of June, vocal ensemble Skylark will be performing Rachmaninoff's "All Night Vigil" at several locations across Massachusetts, and brings the concert to Harvard Square for its final performance. The ensemble will be performing a new edition of the Vespers by artistic director Matthew Guard. Completed by the Russian composer amid the violence of World War I, this performance, more than a century later, will forward all proceeds to relief efforts for people displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
June 10, 9 p.m., 18 and Over
Gay Bash'd is bringing its live stage event, which they call "Boston's BIGGEST Pride Dance Party," to Roadrunner. Drag queen Detox is hosting the evening extravaganza, which will feature local LGBTQ+ artists along with singers CupcakKe and Slayyyter. Do your part to make this the biggest PRIDE dance party in Boston's history. A portion of event proceeds go to Trans Resistance MA.
June 11, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Emerald Necklace Conservancy encourages volunteers to keep its parks habitable and enjoyable for all, just as Olmsted envisioned. Register to volunteer during a Saturday morning at his namesake park, for cleanup and handling of invasive species to keep the greenery fresh and ecologically functional.
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
June 14, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Free, RSVP required
Pull up to Trident Booksellers & Cafe for a poetry reading featuring authors Sarah Anderson, Alessia Hughes and Kevin King. They read selections from their respective works, "We Hold On To What We Can," a set that may tap into distant and formative memories; "Falling Out of Love," an examination of letting love go; and "Ursprache," a philosophical lyric collection described as "arguments with Existence."
June 16, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Free, registration required
In addition to live art showcases, food and drink specials, and musical performances, the Juneteenth pop-up market will feature retail bazaar by cohost Black Owned Bos — Jae'da Turner's consulting agency, which platforms Black businesses throughout the Boston area.
The Strand Theatre
June 17, 8 – 10:30 p.m.
All tickets are pay-what-you-want, with suggested prices ranging from $10 to $25 in accordance with seating level
In October 2021, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) announced a new series called "As Told By: History, Race, and Justice on the Opera Stage," which will feature an operatic production by a Black composer for the next five years. It begins in 2022 with a new, revised, version of Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Anthony Davis' "X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X," featuring bass-baritone Davóne Tines.
Red Room at Cafe 939
June 18, 7 p.m.
Have you seen Arthur Moon's Tiny Desk from March 2020? No? Nothing is stopping you from doing that — or from securing tickets to their set at Berklee's Cafe 939. The stage persona of New York musician Lora-Faye Åshuvud, Arthur Moon, has a particular wiggle-quality about their sound. The echoing electronics and sonic layers, reminiscent of a musical onion, wrap your ears in a little sound blanket. It's really fun-sounding stuff.
Various locations, see website for venues
In person June 23 – 29, early bird pass $135
Online June 27 – July 2, early bird pass $35
Now entering its 24th year, the Roxbury International Film Festival is once again approaching its screenings with a hybrid structure, with in-person screenings (partially) running concurrently with the online festival Roxfilm@Home. The complete film slate has yet to be made public, as has the schedule of panels and local script readings. But tickets are very much available — shelling out for an in-person pass grants access to all films and real-life events, but if you're just about watching from the comfort of your home, the online festival should do just fine.
Dorchester Brewing Company
June 28, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$10 advance, $15 at door
In January 2021, the bar-centric organization Inebri-Art leaned into the accessibility portion of their mission and launched a virtual comedy show. One year later, they've taken their Non-Essential Comedy Show beyond the screen; now, various bars play host to the featured comedians. Dorchester Brewing Company is one such venue, and will open its doors to host the talents of Boston-based comedians AJ Hapenny, Rachel Dunbar, Cher Lynn and Josh Filipowski.
James Bennett II
James Bennett II is an arts and culture reporter for GBH News. The Brooklyn-based Bennett cut his public media teeth with New York Public Radio before joining this particular Boston outfit.