The weather may be no indicator but I know that summer is here because of all the free festivals! Below are some yearbook-style superlatives to help you plan for a weekend which may or may not involve sunshine.
Best Summer Tradition:
Cambridge Arts River Festival | June 3 | East Cambridge waterfront
The Cambridge Arts River Festival gets points for the sheer variety of its cultural offerings: three music stages with global, rock, folk and more; theater, dance and poetry performances; kids’ programming; and my personal favorite, a quirky collection of “roving” entertainers, which this year includes a puppet parade, an accordionist-marionette act and People’s Sculpture Racing, which is exactly what it sounds like. Free and open to the roving public.
Big Gay Dance Party | June 3 | Union Square in Somerville
In honor of Pride Month, the Somerville Arts Council and the Somerville LGBTQ Community Liaison have teamed up for the inaugural Big Gay Dance Party in Union Square. If the whimsically retro, Pepto-Bismol-hued poster (by local artist Dave Ortega) is any indication, the event promises to be both colorful and charming. DJ Dee Diggs provides a thumping soundtrack while local advocacy groups hawk their (complimentary) informational materials. Free and open to the big gay public (and its straight allies)!
Biggest New Building:
MASS MoCA | Forever | North Adams
This week the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams unveiled an enormous new building to house long term, large-scale works of art. The debut of Building 6 doubled the size of the museum's exhibit room and made space for the likes of an absolutely enormous mural by the Boston artist Joe Wardwell, fantastical musical instruments by Gunnar Schonbeck that visitors are invited to play and a mesmerizing exhibition of the sense-confounding light installations of James Turrell, a central figure in the Los Angeles Light and Space movement of the 1960s whose work is rarely shown on this side of the country. (Check out Greg Cook’s guide to the art and Andrea Shea’s tour of the new space.)
Best Pun That Became The Premise Of A Show:
The Gold Dust Orphans’ ‘Greece’ | Through June 4 | Machine Nightclub in Boston
Ryan Landry’s Gold Dust Orphans unleash next-level camp in a horny, glittery musical about Greek mythology which is somehow also about the movie “Grease.” Catch it in Boston before it closes on Sunday. (Read Carolyn Clay’s vivid review.)
Most Likely To Involve A Stradivarius:
Rockport Chamber Music Festival | June 2 - July 9 | Shalin Liu Performance Center
The month-long chamber music fest kicks off with a performance by dreamy-famous violin genius Joshua Bell (and his 300-year-old Strad) and continues with nearly everything classical, from baroque to brand new compositions. (Check out Keith Powers' feature on the festival's longtime director and his picks for other classical festivals to catch this summer.)