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Chomping on First Night 2013 - Because culture is like vegetables, and vegetables are YUM!

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson  December 29, 2012 09:19 AM

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First Night is an annual all-day event held in Greater Boston on New Years Eve that celebrates the generosity and vibrance of the Boston arts community. It's a day that begins with art, movies, free tours, dance, and puppet shows and ends with music and fireworks. It's also a great opportunity to stalk me if you want to follow me around all day. It's New Year's Eve--put a cheese ball and some crackers in your purse and meet me at the MFA at 10AM. You can check out the full First Night schedule here, but here's my agenda.

10:00AM - MFA - the first 300 button-wearers get free admission to the MFA. This is a great of an excuse as any to check out my top recommended Postcards exhibit if you haven't already. Also, according to the MFA site, they'll be doing their first screening of the Festival of International Short Films, if you want to catch it then.

11:00 - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - likewise, you can sneak into the Gardner for free too, if you can make the earlybird special (first 300 button-wearers).

12:00-12:45 - Festival of International Short Films (MFA) - This year's program features such curiosties as a Bulgarian robot, a Honduran helicopter builder, and an animated blues singer from Memphis.

1:30-215 - Gerwick Puppets “Midwinter Magic” -- Puppets inspired by Debussey's 'Snowflakes Are Dancing' sounds just about right for settling into a day of events at the Hynes Convention Center. The Gerwick company brings 30-some puppets to interpret the music (see photo above)
Hynes Convention Center Room 312 (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

2:30-3:00 - Chu Ling Dance Academy - Down the way in room 302, there is a back-to-back international dance spectacle, starting with Ling’s Chinatown-based company at 2:30PM. The company describes it's performance as a blend of traditional Chinese dance and martial arts.
Hynes Convention Center Room 302 (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

3:00-3:30 - Boston Bhangra Experience - Sit tight in room 302 for this one. The Boston Bhangra Experience takes the stage with traditional Punjab folk dance and your dose of south Asian pop music.
Hynes Convention Center Room 302 (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

3:30-4:00 - Duck out in time to hear the 'King of Instruments' at the Old South Church. Essentially, this is a rare performance on the church's 1921 Skinnerorchestral pipe organ – aka the “Copley Philharmonic Organ.” This will prepare you for tonight's Animal Hospital performance when 30 or so musicians will work together much like this very contraption!
Old South Church (645 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116)

4:30-5:00 Urbanity Dance - More dance back at the Hynes, but this time is contemporary dance from Urbanity. A nice finale to the international dance from earlier in the day.
Hynes Convention Center Room 302 (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

5:00-6:00 - New England Anime Society - Cartoons all day at the Hynes (from 1:00-6:00) but catch the last round of screenings before getting ready to reset for the evening.
Hynes Convention Center Room 210 (900 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02115)

6:00 - At 6PM, just as most people are perhaps considering rolling out for a drink, the ice sculptures will be illuminated at Copley Square. By this time, you've had a month of culture packed into your day. Now it's time for music.

7:30-8:45 - CUFFS - If you like clanging, pretty guitar pop in the surf-meets-postpunk vein of bands like the Clean (or early REM), you might dig CUFFS. Especially for a little rock & roll at the Boston Public Library, which sounds like a lot of fun.
Boston Public Library ( 700 Boylston Street Boston, Massachusetts 02116)

9:00-10:00 - The Animal Hospital Ensemble - The Animal Hospital Ensemble has to be seen to be believed. With 30-odd guitar players playing in a surround-sound stereo field, you wouldn't guess that the music would be this delicate and pretty. To read more check out my profile here on Animal Hospital.
Hynes Convention Center Room 302 (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

10:00-11:00 - Walter Sickert & the ARmy of BRoken TOys - Head to the main auditorium to check out the final set from Walter Sickert and guests Bent Knee. Sickert's multi-media performances attract a lot of art freaks, but the music is down and dirty rock and roll that can be enjoyed by bon vivants and pinheads alike. To learn more, read my recent post here on the latest ongoings of the Army of Toys.
Hynes Convention Center Auditorium (900 Boylston St Boston, Massachusetts 02115)

12:00 - Midnight Fireworks over the Public Garden.

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A reminder, all First Night outdoor events are free, but indoor events require a First Night button for general admission ($18), available at dozens of locations, including Shaw’s Supermarkets, Star Market. See http://firstnight.org for full list of retailers. As always, children under 4 are admitted free.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Jonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »

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