What to do this month in Greater Boston: Save your cash and hit the town

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It's that time of the month again! Assistant director for WBUR CitySpace, Candice Springer, is back with a list of things to get you out of the house this month. And, guess what? They're all free!

Show notes:

Candice recommends...

And check out these WBUR CitySpace events...

Full Transcript:

This content was originally created for audio. The transcript has been edited from our original script for clarity. Heads up that some elements (i.e. music, sound effects, tone) are harder to translate to text. 

DARRYL: I'm Darryl C. Murphy, and you are listening to The Common. Candice Springer.

CANDICE: I'm here

DARRYL: Assistant director of WBUR CitySpace.


DARRYL: What's happening?

CANDICE: You know, life is life-ing.

DARRYL: Oh yeah.

CANDICE: Mm-hmm.

DARRYL: It's officially summer.

CANDICE: We have made it through half of the year. Mm-hmm.

DARRYL: We're in July. How's your summer been so far?

CANDICE: You know, it hasn't been too bad. It feels like. There's something happening out there. People are coming out.

DARRYL: People are outside doing things. I'm back to running again.


DARRYL: You know?


DARRYL: I'm out here clocking the miles.

CANDICE: Look at you.

DARRYL: Getting them done.

CANDICE: Maybe you'll inspire me. But right now, I like slow walks.

DARRYL: Listen, I support you.

CANDICE: Thank you.

DARRYL: I support you. I, I'll go on a slow walk with you.

CANDICE: That sounds great. That sounds great.

DARRYL: But here's the other thing. We’re going out a lot more. We’re hitting some spots. But outside is expensive.

CANDICE: You ain't lying. Mm-hmm.

DARRYL: You gotta eat. Yeah. You want to drink, maybe you have to take an Uber every so often.

CANDICE: And then just inflation, we got, we have lives. We gotta put food on our table.

DARRYL: So with that in mind, you got any free or cheap events that we can hit up this month?

CANDICE: How about I have all free and cheap events.

DARRYL: I like that.

CANDICE: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. No, we talked about a lot of events last time that were free and I was like, you know what? Let's continue that vibe because, you know, I want to encourage the people to get out there and I don't want any barriers for y'all up there.

DARRYL: We're all about accessibility here at The Common.

CANDICE: Exactly. So you ready?

DARRYL: Let's go.

CANDICE: Okay. The first one is new, it's a debut here in the city.


CANDICE: An inaugural event, and it's called BBG Fest.

DARRYL: BBG Fest. Are you gonna tell us what BBG stands for?

CANDICE: Yes, I am. BBG actually stands for Beats by Girls.

DARRYL: Love it.

CANDICE: And it's a national organization, but we have a local chapter in Boston. Their mission is to support traditionally marginalized gender identities and to help them sort of visualize and realize their full potential by giving them access to tools and resources, education that's necessary to help them foster growth. And the way that they do that, the avenue that they do that, is through music.

DARRYL: Well, Candice, real quick, when you mention marginalized genders, Who are we talking about?

CANDICE: That's a really good question. So who we mean, is women. And we also mean folks who identify by other genders — maybe non-binary folks. Or trans folks. Anyone who is sort of on that gender expansive spectrum.

DARRYL: Yeah. Because, you know, there's a lot of good music coming from queer folks. Non-binary folks.

CANDICE: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. You know, organizations like Beats By Girls are helping to make more progress. And more impact, especially locally. And this organization is actually led by Naomi Westwater, who is an amazing, singer-songwriter in the city. She is just fantastic, has been making a name for herself. One of my favorite songs that I love from her is called “Feeling My Feelings.”

DARRYL: Feeling My Feelings?



CANDICE: Which I feel like we all need to do.

DARRYL: All the time.

CANDICE: All the time. So in addition to putting out music that combines folk and music and poetry and spirituality, Naomi has now taken on being the leader of this organization and BBG Fest is really like their first big, big outing in the city. And so, it's going to feature lots of musical artists, including Naomi. Bands including Bad Snacks.

CANDICE:  Brandy Blaze, who's an amazing rapper.

DARRYL:  Shout out to Brandy Blaze, have been hearing Brandy Blaze a couple times on the show now.

CANDICE: Exactly. Blowing up. And there's lots of others on this list. And in addition to that, they're also gonna have the Boston Women's Market pop up. So it's gonna feature more than fifteen women and gender expansive vendors. Come on out. It's till eight o'clock. Noon to eight. This is a full day.

DARRYL: That is an all day affair. Let's go.

CANDICE: And, added bonus, WBUR is a media partner of this festival, so we're gonna have a table out there.

DARRYL: Maybe I'll pop up.

CANDICE: Yeah, I'll definitely be there. I think I can get Darryl to go.

DARRYL: You know what I'm saying?

CANDICE: Come visit us, say hi.


DARRYL: And that's the BBG Fest. July 8th. City Hall Plaza.


DARRYL: Again, City Hall coming through.

CANDICE: They're doing the thing this year.

DARRYL: With the venue.


DARRYL: Listen, sometimes city government gets it right.

CANDICE: They do. You might have to stare at that brutalist architecture a little bit, but that's okay.

DARRYL: I love brutalist architecture. Let's do it.

CANDICE: Okay, next episode on The Common, Brutalist: Yay or nay?

DARRYL:  Yeah! I'm for it. Let's go.

DARRYL:  We're gonna take a quick break, but we'll be right back.

DARRYL: And we're back. Alright, so what do we have next?

CANDICE: So the next one is an annual event that is loved by so many, but maybe some people haven't heard of it. And it's Shakespeare on the Common, and that's happening from July 19th to August 6th on the Boston Common.

DARRYL: Not this one.

CANDICE: Not this one, the other one.

CANDICE: The one we all go to. At the Parkman Bandstand. This year, they're presenting Macbeth – a murder is a tragedy where there's a prophecy made by three witches, and Macbeth is then driven to become the King of Scotland. And what does he do? He kills a lot of people to get there with the help of his wife. And then things go South.

DARRYL: Power couple.

CANDICE: Yes. Power couple in the worst way. But you know what I love about Shakespeare on the Common? Every year they try to do something to, you know, twist up these classics, make them feel new or different. And this year they have an actor named Faran Tahir, who is going to be cast as a lead role, and he's a star of stage and screen. He's been in movies like “Iron Man” and the new remake of “Star Trek”, and he's also been in the “Kite Runner on Broadway”.

CANDICE: He's a Pakistani American, and what I love is when Shakespeare on the Common, sort of like upends our traditional view of Shakespeare by casting with folks of color in lead roles.

DARRYL: Yeah, I like that.

CANDICE: So I'm excited to see that. In addition to that, this is a heavy picnicking event. Please bring your baskets, bring your blankets, bring your chairs, bring all the foods, invite me over, bring sandwiches.

DARRYL: Sandwiches.

CANDICE Yeah, exactly. Invite me over because people throw down at this. I've seen some amazing spreads out there. Highly, highly encouraged.

DARRYL: But be careful if you're trying to bring the wine. Be careful.

CANDICE: Yeah. There's no alcohol, so cool it. And if you just don't feel like bringing your chairs, you can also rent them at the site for a nominal fee.

DARRYL: I like that.


DARRYL: So that's Shakespeare on the Common, July 19th through August 6th. All right, so you gave us two options in Boston. Let's show some love to the folks outside of Boston.

CANDICE: We don't always do that.

DARRYL: Can we do that?

CANDICE: Yeah. Okay. Let's do that. So if we hop over a bridge, to Cambridge.


CANDICE: At the end of the month, July 29th and 30th, there will be the Cambridge Jazz Festival.

CANDICE: Again, also free. Maybe you want a slower vibe or a more traditional vibe.

DARRYL: More refined.

CANDICE: Exactly.

DARRYL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

CANDICE: Cambridge Jazz Festival is for you. It'll be in Danehy Park in Cambridge. It's the eighth annual version of this festival, and it's hosted by the Cambridge Jazz Association, whose mission is to spotlight and promote outstanding jazz artists to make jazz performances more accessible. To just make Jazz, a pathway to a more just society.

DARRYL: So Candice, I have a question for you.


DARRYL: Who all is gonna be there?

CANDICE: All right. Let me tell you, this is a two day event, and they're actually splitting it into two themes. So Saturday it's Afro-Caribbean Jazz Connections, that's the theme of the day. And it's hosted by someone that we know very well. José Massó, who is the host of Con Salsa on WBUR.

DARRYL: Longest running show?

CANDICE: One of the longest running shows, absolutely. 47 years. Jose's gonna MC Saturday and it's gonna feature lots of amazing artists, including, Eguie Castrillo, who is an associate professor at Berklee. And he also has his own orchestra. He's a percussionist, so you'll see him behind the drums, the bongos, and then he'll have a full band with him.

CANDICE: Actually a lot of Berkeley talent at this Cambridge Jazz Festival, which is –

DARRYL: Berklee’s got a lot of talent.

CANDICE: Yes. And it's local, local, local local.


CANDICE: So you can support all of these artists who are growing, or these professors who are fostering like new talent in the city. This is amazing.

CANDICE: So on Sunday it's gonna be more of a mix of your traditional and some, you know, new groups that are popping up. It's hosted by Valerie Stephens on Sunday. She's a percussionist who's been working for three generations, performing at all sorts of events throughout the city. She's also an educator, and this is the day where you can see, you know, Berklee’s Institute for Gender and Jazz Justice, again. They were just at BAMS Fest. They're coming to this.


CANDICE: There's also a group called Global Jazz Women, and then you know, the last artist of the day is going to be Danilo Pérez and he has a group called the Global Messengers. He's also the founder and artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

DARRYL: I love that. So that's the Cambridge Jazz Festival, July 29th and 30th at Danehy Park. I love it. I love it. So, it's time to bring it home. Candice, what's going on in CitySpace?

CANDICE: Feature a few things.

DARRYL: Hit it.

CANDICE: How often have you been sweating?

DARRYL:  A little bit. Quite a bit.

CANDICE: Do you wanna talk about it? Because there is a perfect event for you to talk about that at City Space. And it's called, The Moth.

CANDICE: So if you don't know, we do monthly Story Slams. Monthly Moth Story Slams. The Moth is a storytelling program that you can hear on WBUR. And they're competitions. And so, the theme this month is “Sweat.” I think we're all feeling it. But also, you know, you can get deeper with that theme. You can think about a time that you made you perspire. Maybe it was like a moment where it was like a breakthrough in your career or a moment you were scared, and your interpretation of the theme is up to you. But these events are amazing because we get new talent. We get people who have told stories all the time. And it's hosted by Bethany Van Delft.

DARRYL: Shout out to her.

CANDICE: Who is one of the most amazing comedians in Boston. Super, super funny. So if you've never checked out The Moth before, come to CitySpace. And that is on July 11th.

DARRYL: July 11th, the Moth. Sweat. What else we got?

CANDICE: All right. You know food is big at CitySpace and we've got two curated cuisine events coming up.

CANDICE: Darryl is making a face right now.

DARRYL: Doing a dance.

CANDICE:  And doing a dance, because, yes, Darryl likes to eat, y'all.

DARRYL: I love to eat.

CANDICE:  This time we're doing barbecue.


CANDICE:  Yep. And we're doing ice cream.

DARRYL: Okay. First, whose barbecue are we doing?

CANDICE: That is a quintessential question. We haven't booked them yet, so, shhhh. But we are looking for participants. We are looking for some really great chefs in the city who specialize in barbecue, or they're just amazing chefs and they know how to throw down on a grill. And for ice cream, that's also a celebration of all the amazing vendors in the city who are giving you that cool treat that you love so much.

DARRYL: So who's hosting it?

CANDICE I don't know. Darryl, maybe you?

DARRYL: That all sounds incredible. And with that Candice. Thank you so much.

CANDICE: You're welcome. Thanks for having me, for doing what you do, and see you next time.

DARRYL: That's assistant director for WBUR CitySpace, Candice Springer.

DARRYL:  And that's our show for today. Thank you so much for listening to The Common. Tell us, where do you like to get ice cream in this area? Hit us up on Instagram @WBURTheCommon, or send us an email at:

And now, it is that time for me to let you know that The Common is produced by Katelyn Harrop and Frannie Monahan. It's mixed by Emily Jankowski, Matt Reed and Paul Vaitkus, and it's edited by Samata Joshi and Ben Brock Johnson. And our theme music is “Me” from Heesu. And from the newsroom of WBUR, I'm your host, Darryl C. Murphy. I'll talk to you soon.

Darryl C. Murphy Host
Darryl C. Murphy is the host of WBUR's daily news and culture podcast, "The Common."


Katelyn Harrop Podcast Producer
Katelyn Harrop is a podcast producer for WBUR's daily news and culture podcast, "The Common."



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