Thursday, November 17, 2011

Safari #44: Concerts at the New England Conservatory

In the four years that I have been living here, one of the biggest items on my Boston bucket list has been attending a performance at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall.  The free, open performances highlight NEC's talented students and faculty and allow the public to gain an appreciation for classical music in all of its forms.

I've seen numerous performances of classical music, but I've never been able to watch the musicians as closely as I could at Jordan Hall.  The vibrating, pulsating music together with the postures and expressions of the musicians made for an exciting and passionate performance.  To watch so closely made me feel like more than just a spectator.

For a moment, I felt as if I was in communion with the sound.  It was exhilarating.

  • If you're looking to enjoy more classical music or simply to become more aquatinted with it, let NEC be your guide.  All you need to do is lend them your ear.  
  • The performance I attended, The Aura of Mahler, was part of a series of performances for Mahler Unleashed, which began in September.  For more details, visit the NEC's website.  You can also follow NEC on Twitter to learn more about upcoming events.
  • Curious about other bucket list ideas?  Check out the Evolving Critic's blog.
*Special thanks to the Evolving Critic for recommending this trip and doing it with me.  You are a great partner in crime, my dear sir.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Safari #43: Pie in the Sky with Community Servings

With the holiday season fast approaching, many are turning their eyes and thoughts outward and thinking more about giving back, volunteering, and participating in their communities.  Similar to my trip to the Greater Boston Food Bank last year, I'm hoping that this post gives you ideas for giving back this holiday season and well into the new year.

I recently volunteered for Community Servings, an organization that prepares and delivers meals to the critically ill.  Every Thanksgiving, they host an event called Pie in the Sky, where local bakeries and pie sellers come together to sell freshly baked pies.  Each pie costs $25 and will feed one critically ill person for a week.  This year, I worked at the Box Party, where I helped to label and bundle pie boxes for delivery to local bakeries and restaurants.  It was a great experience, and I can't encourage you enough to participate in any way you can!

If you're interested in purchasing a pie for your Thanksgiving table next week, visit and make your purchase before the 19th! (less than three days away!)

Other Ideas for Giving Back:

  • New England Center for Homeless Veterans - Located near Government Center, this shelter prepares daily meals for homeless veterans.  Visit the website to learn more about registering and signing up to serve food.
  • Do You Like to Run?  Volunteer with Back on My Feet and help homeless people regain confidence and self-esteem.  If you're already going out for a run, why not do it with others?  Visit their website to learn more.
  • Are you a Hair Stylist, Yogi or Techie?  Volunteer at the Boston Living Center and provide support to the HIV/AIDS community.  Volunteers can serve meals, but the center also welcomes those who can also provide additional services like hair styling and meditation.  Have an idea for a service?  Tell them about it!  
  • Don't Know Where to Start?  Visit the Boston Cares website to search for volunteer opportunities in the greater Boston area.

Last but not least, always remember that two helping hands and a few hours will resonate with any organization you wish to volunteer for.  If you can't offer your hands, try making a donation to one of the many community-based charities in the greater Boston area.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Safari #42: For You I Feel Lucky at The Hallway JP

The Audience Gathers.
On Tuesday, November 8th, I headed over to the performance of "For You I Feel Lucky" at The Hallway Gallery in JP.  Jessica Gath, a local artist, was scheduled to perform.  I had no idea what to expect when Jessica asked me to refer two family members or friends she could interview about me prior to the show.  I was excited to find out.

The Performance Begins.
Jessica used the interviews to weave together a story about the audience.  Through the voices of the interviewees, Jessica helped us to remember how loving, kind, and special we all were.  She created a community bound together by our collective memories. For us, she felt lucky that we had all of these wonderful people in our lives.  She felt lucky to be able to share it with us.

Thank you, Jessica.  

Note: The Hallway in JP has regularly scheduled events throughout the year. Please visit the website for more information.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Safari #41: Pretty Little Delicious Things

As we've discussed before, Bostonians love beer, and this one continues enjoy a brew or two every now and then (ahem).  I recently attended an event that featured a local brewery and an organization of women who love craft beer.  Did you just say to yourself, "Wow, ladies who love craft beer?"  I thought so. Read on (and gentlemen, take note).

Massachusetts Girls Pint Out (GPO) is an organization dedicated to exploring the amazing craft brew scene in the greater Boston area.  They (Rebecca, Kristen, and Julie) organize events including brewery tours, private tastings, and social gatherings all in the spirit of enjoying good beer, supporting local brewers, and making new friends.

It was a pleasure to meet the founders of Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project (Somerville, MA), Dann and Martha, at Scholar's a few weeks ago.  Although I wasn't able to stay for the entire event, I did get to sample the infamous Jack D'Or, St. Botolph's Town (dark brown ale), and Baby Tree (an abbey-style quadruple).  For the record, Baby Tree is the BEST beer I've tasted in a long time.  If you see it on tap (or any of the Pretty Things beers), try it.


  • If you're a lady and a craft beer lover, visit the GPO website or follow them on Twitter to learn more about upcoming events.  There is one planned for December 13th at the Harpoon Brewery.  
  • If you're a guy who likes girls who drink craft beer, you might want to see where the ladies are headed next.  Just sayin.

p.s. Are you a craft brew lover?  What have you tried recently, and where did you try it?  Share in the comments!