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10 things to do in Boston this weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to the best events and coolest happenings in and around Boston.

Somerville Open Studios.
Somerville Open Studios. Somerville Open Studios.

This week’s BosTen offers a mix of in-person and virtual things to do in Boston this weekend. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].

Set your sights on four Independent Film Festival sites

The 19th annual Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFB) is really spreading its wings this time around, with screenings of more than 60 films at four venues in four different cities and towns. Running now through May 4, adventurous movie lovers will be able to catch narrative films and documentaries, in both feature and short formats, at the Somerville Theatre (Somerville), the Brattle Theatre (Cambridge), the Coolidge Corner Theatre (Brookline), and CitySpace (Boston). As always, the fare will range from those with commercial leanings to those that are definitely out on the edge. One highlight among many is closing night film “Marcel, the Shell with Shoes On,” an animated faux documentary about a small seashell (yes, who wears shoes), voiced by Milton native Jenny Slate, who tries to track down his parents after they disappear. Rumor on this one is that it’s charming but could make you a bit teary eyed. For a complete list of titles and events, visit the IFF Boston website. — Ed Symkus

Get a free banned book and celebrate diverse voices in literature

This Thursday, local nonprofit BookTalk, Inc. is joining with the University of Massachusetts Boston Honors College to host a Banned Book Fair, with the aim of spotlighting diverse voices in literature. The event will feature books by marginalized authors that have been the target of book bans across the country, such as “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall“Grown” by Tiffany Jackson, and “Cemetery” by Aiden Thomas. Students who attend the event, which will take place at the back courtyard of University Hall and Campus Center at UMass Boston from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., will be able to browse the books on display and pick one to take home, free of charge. — Dialynn Dwyer

See Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s return to Boston

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began with a modern dance performance by a group of young Black dancers helmed by Alvin Ailey in New York in 1958. Since then, the company has performed for an estimated 25 million people at shows throughout the world. This spring’s performance at the Wang Theatre starting this Thursday marks the company’s first return to Boston since the start of the pandemic. Attendees can expect a host of new and classic works at their shows, alongside the company’s signature Revelations, created by Ailey of his memories from the Deep South, with blues and gospel influences. — Natalie Gale

Chill out to the piano-based folk of The Weather Station

It was a year after finishing the album “Ignorance” that Tamara Linderman, the mastermind behind The Weather Station, decided to record another album, this one a shift almost completely to solo piano. Released this year, “How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars” was recorded between March 10 and 12, 2020, according to Pitchfork, a time when the world began to shut down as COVID-19 became a global pandemic. Back in March of last year, the band livestreamed a performance from Toronto’s Revolution Recording Studios. The band played all 10 tracks from “Ignorance” during the show. For those entranced by the latest album, they can watch Linderman perform as The Weather Station at Crystal Ballroom this Thursday. — Arianna MacNeill

Take in the MFA’s Art in Bloom

For the first time since 2019, The Museum of Fine Arts’ annual flower festival will makes its in-person return this Thursday. The Art in Bloom weekend-long event features all things flowers in celebration of the return of spring with guests speakers, events, shopping, and oodles of fresh flower arrangements. Fifty New England floral designers will put together stunning flower arrangements and interpretations throughout the museum’s galleries. The Art in Bloom Market in the courtyard will feature goods from 10 vendors for sale —plus the Garden Cart, with home and garden items like teacups filled with fresh flowers. Free guided tours of the flower arrangements will be available with museum admission all weekend. — Natalie Gale

Head over to the SoWa Open Market

Starting Sunday, SoWa Open Market is back each weekend through October. Over a hundred vendors head to Harrison Avenue in the South End, along with a dozen of Boston’s favorite food trucks. The market even sets up a beer garden and live musical entertainment. SoWa Open Market is part farmers’ market, part arts market, and part food festival. Local farmers and food purveyors line up to sell fresh produce, animal products, baked goods, and other treats, while artists sell handmade jewelry, clothing, home decor, and ceramics. The SoWa Art + Design District also includes a plethora of artist galleries and the SoWa Vintage Market, an indoor flea market full of secondhand goods. You’ll also find boutiques, design showrooms, tons of surrounding restaurants, and rotating exhibits at the Power Station. This summer, guests can check out Beyond King Tut July 8 through September 18. — Natalie Gale

Watch The Zombies come to life at The Cabot

Those who thoughtlessly dismiss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame do so for one or a combination of three reasons: 1) it has ignored their personal favorite artists, 2) it has recognized artists who debuted after rock ‘n’ roll ceased to meet Homer Simpson’s definition of perfection, or 3) it has inducted artists whose sound is not exclusively comprised of electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and acceptably employed keys/synths. The lifelong members of the 1960s psychedelic-pop group The Zombies, however, were over the moon when they won selection in 2019. Despite their belated induction, the group has had a plethora of high-profile admirers over the years, from Tom Petty to Dave Grohl and Eminem. Fans can look forward to hearing hits like “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and oodles of others at The Cabot this Friday at 8 p.m. — Blake Maddux

See art on the go at Somerville Open Studios

Somerville will honor its vibrant art scene this weekend, as hundreds of artists at more than 80 of the city’s studios showcase their work during the annual Somerville Open Studios from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Wander down a street you’ve never traveled to find art you’ve never dreamed of, or, for a more structured approach, take the free trolley provided by the city to some of the major studios. — Kevin Slane

Chinatown celebrates World Tai Chi Day

Just down from the iconic Chinatown Gate, students and instructors of the Bow Sim Mark Tai Chi Association come together to perform the sweeping flow of gentle Tai chi during a free and public celebration of World Tai Chi Day this Saturday at 10 a.m. Bow Sim Mark Tai Chi Arts and the Rose Kennedy Greenway partner for a 90-minute performance of not only tai chi, but also a variety of other Chinese martial arts including qigong, xing yi, bagua, weapon forms, and much more. While the annual event has been promoting the disciplines in 80 nations and several hundred cities since 1999, this local gathering also celebrates the legacy of Grandmaster Mark, who Black Belt magazine once named one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century. — Cheryl Fenton

Watch baseball meet rock ‘n’ roll at Hot Stove Cool Music

For the first time since moving online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual “Hot Stove Cool Music” concert benefitting the Foundation To Be Named Later is finally returning to a stage this Saturday at the Paradise Rock Club. This year’s show features Good Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik along with a lineup that boasts appearances by the FTBNL co-founder and former Red Sox vice president and general manager Theo Epstein and Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons, with the Boston All-Stars. Also on the shortlist are Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck’s band French Lick, Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley with all-star group Band of Their Own, former Yankees outfielder and jazz guitarist Bernie Williams, and former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo. — Chris Gavin

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