5 things to do this weekend, including the return of Boston Calling and the ICA's Watershed

It's hard to know how to start this installment of our weekend round-up of events. With the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Texas this week following another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York just 10 days earlier, it's hard to feel the same sense of celebratory relief that the weekend is once again upon us. My mind is swirling with grief at the lives lost and those in mourning, but perhaps that's all the more reason to check in with ourselves and try to find joy where we can. So whether you decide to spend time with loved ones at home or you're feeling like you need a distraction, there's no wrong way to spend your time. We're here to provide you with options, from the return of Boston Calling to an opportunity to get out in nature at Blue Hills Reservation.

Boston Calling

Friday, May 27-Sunday, May 29

A festival three years in the making, Boston Calling makes a return to lower Allston and the grassy fields of Harvard University's athletic complex. Over three days, 51 acts will play across four stages, including the newly added Tivoli Audio Orange Stage highlighting local and regional musicians. Festival co-founder and CEO Brian Appel told WBUR's Andrea Shea "as this industry comes back to life, anything that we can do to create more opportunity is where we're putting our efforts.” If you're heading to the fest and need a suggestion of who to watch, WBUR contributor Nathan Tavares recommends five acts, including Boston's own Cliff Notez. Check out the playlist below from Boston Calling to get a taste of the music to come.

Memorial Day Flag Garden

Through Monday, May 30

Each Memorial Day weekend, Boston Common is covered with waves of fluttering flags. They commemorate each fallen member of the U.S. military from Massachusetts since the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of volunteers, organized by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, place more than 37,000 flags in tribute. The nonprofit group was founded in 2009 and began the tradition of planting flags on the Common in 2010.

Some of the 37,000 flags planted in memory of fallen Massachusetts service members, flutter in the breeze on Boston Common by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Some of the 37,000 flags planted in memory of fallen Massachusetts service members, flutter in the breeze on Boston Common by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

New Rep, New Voices Theatre Festival

Through Saturday, May 28

New Repertory Theatre's first installment of the New Voices Theatre Festival wraps up this weekend with four final performances at the Mosesian Center for the Arts' Black Box Theater in Watertown. The festival features three 20-minute plays, each with a two-person cast, that explore themes of grief, depression and identity through magical realism and science fiction -- local playwright Erin Lerch's work "By Any Other Name" is set in the age of space travel, for example. The program lasts approximately an hour.


'Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms'

Opens May 26

Nothing feels more like summer than taking the water shuttle from the ICA to its seasonal Watershed outpost in East Boston. This year, the Watershed features large-scale installations by six artists from around the globe: El Anatsui, Madeline Hollander, Ibrahim Mahama, Karyn Olivier, Ebony G. Patterson and Joe Wardwell. Hollander uses discarded automobile head and taillights in her work and they glow like jewels, while Anatsui uses bottle caps to make shimmering tapestries. WBUR contributor Pamela Reynolds describes the exhibition as "a multilayered exploration of labor and production, capitalism and consumerism, as well as the sustainability of it all." Admission to the Watershed is free, and timed tickets are required for the water shuttle.


Animal Detectives at Blue Hills Reservation

Saturday, May 28

Are your kids curious to know what forest creatures get up to when no one is watching? A program at the Blue Hills Reservation will teach them how to identify and read the tracks of animals in the woods, like deer, rabbits and foxes. The program is designed for all ages — put on a pair of hiking shoes and see what marks you find! The program is free and meets at Houghton’s Pond Visitor Center.

Headshot of Dianna Bell

Dianna Bell Senior Editor, Arts & Culture
Dianna Bell is senior editor of arts and culture for WBUR.


Headshot of Tania Ralli

Tania Ralli Assistant Managing Editor, Arts & Culture
Tania Ralli is assistant managing editor of arts and culture at WBUR.



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