(Credit: City of Cambridge)
Marie Antoinette said to let them eat cake. And the kind folks who run the City of Cambridge said to let them dance—in the smack middle of Central Square, while DJs festooned on high blast music and put on a light show that's akin to an Ibiza beach party. The event, aptly named Annual Dance Party, runs tonight from 7 to 11 PM, and is worth the trek (by subway—the streets surrounding city hall literally do shut down, and navigation will be limited except to those on foot). Oh, and it's free.
What to bring: Your friends, natch, and patience—lots of it. The event has grown in popularity over the past several years, and bodies will be crammed tightly, so play nice. There's also lots of covert imbibing, which you can do at your own risk (I recommend starting or taking a break at any number of nearby bars to satisfy your thirst to avoid getting kicked out), plus people of all ages, and from all backgrounds. If you're not one for crowds, or have the tendency to throw a temper tantrum when strangers on the subway attempt to squeeze by as you cling to the pole closest to the door—you know who you are—this probably isn't the place for you. But, if the idea of dancing in a huge, open-air space with thousands of other people who also enjoy dancing in huge, open-air spaces excites you, and you don't mind potentially getting wet (the event is rain or shine), then shimmy on down to Central Square, and enjoy what's become one of my favorite events of the year to attend.
No thanks. (Credit: mysterypua.com)
Pickup artists—per Wikipedia, “men perceived to be skilled in the art of finding, attracting and seducing women”—are making headlines once again, as evidenced by this handy Jezebel guide to fending them off. I ran into a local pickup artist at the Revere Hotel last month (I forget his pseudonym, but his accessories included a bejeweled walking stick and a fake British accent) and didn’t think it was too hard to see through his “game”: backhanded compliments (see the Jezebel piece or Wikipedia entry for examples), repeatedly touching (or trying to touch) my arm, and ultimately, confessing that he’d trained with the pickup artist du jour, Mystery, of VH1 fame. Simply nodding, smiling politely, and excusing myself—the same way I would if I wasn’t interested in continuing the conversation with any other guy, cane full of bling or not—seemed to do the trick, though I’ve made a mental note to refer to myself as a “fancy girl” the next time I meet a prospective romantic interest.
In short: just say ‘No’ to pickup artists. Your self-esteem, and fellow singles, will thank you.
Cultural events make for great dates, not only because they tend to be wallet-friendly, but because if sparks don't fly or things fly south, there are plenty of other attractive things (and people) to look at.
But I digress. This Juneteenth celebration, hosted by Future Boston Alliance and the MFA, looks pretty awesome, handsome accompaniment or not.
So: start by meeting at the MFA (admission is free) and catch a 15-minute "spotlight talk" at 6, 6:30 or 7:15 PM. Flex your creative muscles (ladies love 'em) and sketch a live model in one of the galleries, or drop in for conversation (and flirtation) at Future Boston's meetup at Taste Café. Grab dinner if you're hungry—Bravo Restaurant is open until 8:30 PM—and make your way to Central Square around 10 PM, where DJ Maseo of De La Soul will play at Naga for just $10. Where the night goes from there is up to your own imagination, of course, but it hopefully won't end alone.
Art, food, music, and possibility: the perfect ingredients for a summer night on the town.
As I type this, I'm preparing a mental checklist of things I'll need for my weekend in Newburyport. A swimsuit. Sunglasses. My toothbrush. A small gift for the host, a friend from high school. And, underlined and marked "Important!": to leave behind any expectations that I'll be able to find savory, greasy Chinese food at 3 AM post-Saturday night out in a seaside town known for its architecture and history, not its nightclubs and tequila shots.
Because here's the thing. I'm familiar with Newburyport—I grew up just 15 minutes away—and when I visit, I don't expect to find the same scene I would in Boston. I expect Lilly Pulitzer sundresses and last call at midnight, which is often what you'll get in a preppy coastal community. Likewise, when I visited Pittsburgh for the first time last week, I didn't secretly harbor hopes that my favorite DJ from the Middlesex Lounge would make an impromptu appearance at Kelly's, the local hotspot-dive that was packed with a mix of hipsters, creative types and a few popped collars on an otherwise ordinary Thursday night. Yet that didn't prevent me from gawking at how inexpensive the bar menu was ($4 cocktails! Never in Boston!), or from whispering "Go Bruins!" when a guy in a Penguins T-shirt passed me on his way to the bathroom, even though 1. I haven't watched a hockey game in years, and 2. I'd never do that back home.
Weekend trips away, in my opinion, are Mother Nature's way of letting us reset our batteries and reclaim our "R's," in short, doable stints, without requiring checked baggage or much commitment other than to show up and enjoy the local scene. But that it does mean we have to leave the comparisons behind, lest we aim to annoy our hosts with anecdotes about the obnoxious tourists who want to know if they're on the Freedom Trail, or how our rent compares (ahem). Here's my short list of things to keep in mind when you go out in another city.FULL ENTRY
Aside from the beach, there’s no place I’d rather spend my summer leisure time than parked on a patio with a few friends, a chilled pint of seasonal beer—or a tangy glass of red sangria...or a minty mojito (sorry, bartenders)...or a zesty margarita...or even a glass of fresh-brewed iced tea—in hand.
Unfortunately, not all urban oases are created equal, and while I’m not here to bash the ones that have fallen into my ill favor, I feel that it’s my civic duty to enlighten your senses by sharing a few of my favorite outdoor spaces for enjoyment during the warmer months. Emphasis on "a few": Boston is chock-full of fantastic patios and roofdecks that are ripe for the picking, libations or not, and depending on your preferences, you might agree or disagree with my picks. But these are the spots that have served me well consistently over the years, and which immediately come to mind when someone asks for a recommendation.
So, please, sit back, enjoy and explore accordingly. Just don’t be that guy who needlessly hogs the last remaining beneath-the-umbrella chair with his gym bag. (You know who you are.)
Update: A kind friend alerted me of two erroneous omissions after my initial posting. The additions are included after the jump.FULL ENTRY