When I was a teenager, I loved “Little Miss Sunshine.” It was my favorite movie at the time because it made me smile and introduced me to independent movies. I was also entranced by the movie’s music, much of which was scored by the talented Devotchka. When I found out a few days ago that the band would be performing in Worcester in less than a week, I was elated that I learned about it before the opportunity passed. There is art and joy around many corners. You just have to keep an eye open. If you’re in need of a little culture, take a look below. There’s plenty of wonder and delight happening in our very own Boston backyard this weekend.
Through Saturday, Sept. 30
When I was in college, a professor assigned “Working” by Studs Terkel. Having not worked a full-time job yet, I learned a great deal about our society and culture through this lens. “On the Job: Occupations in Art” at the Childs Gallery features etchings, engravings, lithographs and mezzotints that all focus on working subjects. There’s a grid of women at desks, typing away. An engraving of a broad-shouldered, towering figure is simply titled “Hammer Man.” The works include depictions of basketweavers, farm laborers, blast furnace workers, performers and wait staff. Fitting this period of writers and actors strikes, there’s an ink and wash of a picket line with protesters holding signs that read, “We can’t live on $4/week.” Galleries are open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 8
Why does Worcester celebrate its Pride in September? Well, the college kids are back. It doesn’t conflict with Boston’s festivities. And why not? This way, there’s a little more queer joy to last the whole year long. Part of the city’s celebration is the annual Queer AF Fashion Show, which bills itself as the Queer Met Gala of Massachusetts. Just like the NYC Gala, the Worcester event will have a theme for the evening, and this year’s is “I am a Galaxy.” The evening of fashion and musical performances will be hosted by Joshua Croke and former RuPaul’s Drag Race All Star contestants Jackie Cox and Mariah Balenciaga. Tickets for adults start at $25, and the event raises funds for Love Your Labels, an advocacy and community programming group for LBGTQ+ youth.
Saturday, Sept. 9
I’ve mentioned it before. One of the challenges I have when going to a dance show is my discomfort sitting for that long. Watching people dance makes me want to move my body too! For this and other reasons, the announcement of the Momentum Greenway Dance Program delights me. This site-responsive contemporary dance series along the Rose Kennedy Greenway will bring four local dance companies to different parts of the public park once a week for the next 5 Saturdays, culminating in the Momentum Dance Festival on Oct. 7. Performances start every half hour at four different locations from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Although tickets are free, space is limited, and reservations are required.
Saturday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 10
In 2003, Mayor Menino created the first Boston Arts Festival to showcase the city’s visual and performing arts. Twenty years and a pandemic later, the festival is alive and well. The annual event is returning this weekend to Boston’s Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. There will be public art installations and art for sale, including paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry and sculpture. Musicians will perform at the Waterfront Stage, and acts include jazz-fusion, funk-rock, singer-songwriters and more. There are thousands of visitors expected over the weekend, so it should be a hustling and bustling scene.
Saturday, Sept. 9
Chamber players from the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra will play two concerts this Saturday at the Groton Hill Music Center. The concerts will take place in Meadow Hall, a visually stunning venue with great glass windows that allow the music center’s natural surroundings to serve as a backdrop. There’s an afternoon concert at 2 p.m., and for those who want to see the spectacle of a sunset over the wispy tall grass swaying in the wind, there’s also a 7:30 p.m. concert. The program includes Britten’s “The Sword in the Stone Suite” as well as works by Bach and Debussy. The chamber players will close the concert with Joplin’s “The Entertainer” in its original 1902 orchestration. If you haven’t been to this acoustically top-notch music center yet, consider this a sampling for the upcoming Vista Philharmonic Orchestra season, which has some of the liveliest programming in the area.