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5 things to do this weekend, including the Harvard Square Poetry Stroll and Langston Hughes' 'Black Nativity'

We’re in the final push to the holidays with Hanukkah starting Sunday and Christmas happening a week later. This stretch of year is busy with plan-making and gift-buying. But if you have some extra time on your hands, what better way to spend it than engaging with local arts? On Thursday, the MFA will host a celebration for the Jewish festival of lights. Elsewhere, there’s a poetry stroll happening in Harvard Square and a few performances of a unique bilingual play. Whatever you're in the mood for this weekend, we’ve got you covered.

Hanukkah at the MFA

Thursday, Dec. 15

Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The evening is a collaboration between the museum, Jewish Arts Collaborative and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. On Thursday, you can check out the interactive light display “Brighter Ignited,” attend an art making demo with artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren and attend a spotlight talk on sculptor Jacques Lipchitz's creative interpretation of a menorah. Festive foods like latkes and rugelach will be available at the New American Café.


Harvard Poetry Stroll

Through Sunday, Jan. 1

This is the third annual Harvard Square Poetry Stroll, and this year, the self-guided tour offers up work about hope from local poets. Eighteen poems are displayed all across the square, including in front of the Democracy Center, Brattle Plaza and Otto Pizza. The full list of poem locations is available online. A wide range of poets, including Mckendy Fils-Aimé, William Tilleczek and Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, are featured in this year’s stroll.


'Constellations'

Thursday, Dec. 15-Saturday, Dec. 17

Written by Nick Payne, this play is a special opportunity to watch a bilingual play. “Constellations” is presented by Vermilion Theater, an alliance between Vermilion Boston, a professional nonprofit Mandarin-English bilingual theater, and Vermilion Yale, a bilingual student club. It will be performed at The Huntington’s Wimberly Theatre in both English and Mandarin with English subtitles. The story is about second chances, love and letting go in a parallel universe.


Langston Hughes' 'Black Nativity'

Through Sunday, Dec. 18

This is the 52nd season of Langston Hughes’ retelling of the Christmas story through gospel. “Black Nativity” is a Biblical musical narrated in African American Vernacular English, including African drums and dancing. There’s a cast of over 50 people, including children, who joyfully sing Christmas carols. The play was originally written by Langston Hughes and first performed off-Broadway. Staged at the Emerson Paramount Center, the show is accessible for all, with ASL interpreters signing as part of the cast and crew.


'Mimi Bai: HIDE AND SEE' at the BCA

Friday, Dec. 16- Saturday, Feb 18

Mimi Bai, a visual artist born in Xi’an, China and based in Brooklyn, New York, joins the Boston Center for the Arts to present a new exhibition on assimilation. Using camouflage as a metaphor, Bai draws connections between her personal experiences as an immigrant to politics and history. On Friday evening, there will be a public reception and curatorial walkthrough. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see new work from the BCA’s Studio Residency Artists.

Lauren Williams Arts Reporting Fellow
Lauren Williams is the arts reporting fellow at WBUR.

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