First Night Boston almost didn’t happen this year. Money ran out, budgets were cut, and then Mayor Thomas M. Menino,
in one of his last acts, made sure the show would go on. Here are some of the highlights. For a full listing of events, details on where to buy the $10 First Night buttons, as well as venue information, go to FirstNightBoston.org.
To increase participation, organizers are making the buttons available in more locations, including at CVS stores all around the region, participating Bank of America locations, the BosTix booths, JP Licks locations all over Greater Boston,
the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Bookstore, and more.
Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell
Folk music for all ages is demonstrated by Dan Zanes, former member of the Del Fuegos band, and Elizabeth Mitchell, a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist. In 2007 Zanes received a Grammy Award and Mitchell was a nominee for the 56th annual Grammy Awards for Best Children’s Album. 1-1:45 p.m. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center Auditorium.
Drum Central with Grooversity and IntAfrika
Groove to the beat of Afro-Brazilian drumming put together by Grooversity and IntAfrika. Created by Brazilian percussionist Marcus Santos, the Grooversity entertainment group not only educates, but also engages others to be a part of social change. 1:45-2:15 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Ballroom.
Adults and children can learn how to walk the tight wire, use the aerial lyra, and ride the gym wheels. If these activities are too frightening, watching is OK too. 1-1:45 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall D.
Handel and Haydn Society
The Young Women’s Chorus (grades 9-12) and the Young Men’s Chorus (grades 8-12) will perform separately. Both Choruses will perform together during the last performance with pieces by George Frideric Handel and Lowell Mason.
1-1:45 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Ballroom.
Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association Workshop
Chinese art activities include dragons, lanterns, firecrackers, and more. Celebrate the Chinese New Year (Jan. 31) by hanging up your decorations. 1 -5 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C.
Get your face painted and become anything! The possibilities are endless.
1-6 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall A.
Projects of interactive and
immersive art will be on display. One project included is a 15-foot-6-inch-tall scale model of the Prudential Tower. 1-6 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 202.
MassMouth Storytelling Festival
It’s a festival within a festival, who knew? Celebrate with games, music, and storytelling. 1-6 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 102.
Puppet Showplace Theater: First Night Puppet Festival
Performances by Puppet Showplace Theater and puppeteers from all over New England include multiple characters as well as music. 1:15-6 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 208.
Radio Disney Boston will feature games, prizes and, of course, music. 1-6 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall A.
Chu Ling Dance Academy
This performance incorporates traditional Chinese dance, which is divided into classical and folk, and martial arts.
1-1:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C.
Comedic magician BJ Hickman puts on a show in which curiosity and participation play parts. 1:15-1:45 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 302.
Morgan White Jr. — The Man From T.R.I.V.I.A.
Morgan White Jr., a host on WBZ-AM, is known as a trivia master. Take him on in challenges and see who comes out more knowledgeable. 1:30-2:15 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 101.
Take sight of magic, juggling, and telekinetic powers. Having performed at the Great Hall of the Nantucket Atheneum five times, Scott Jameson may surprise you. 2-2:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 302.
O’Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance
Presented will be traditional and contemporary Irish dance. 2-2:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C.
Dan Foley and Joel Harris perform stunts and tricks with all sorts of objects. Performing for over 20 years, this duo takes juggling to the max. 2:30-3:15 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Ballroom.
Andrea Herbert Major Dance Company
Jazz, hip-hop, and African dance will be performed by this 45-year-old company. 3-3:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C.
Jo-Me Dance Company
This is the first time Jo-Me Dance Company will be attending First Night. It brings young dancers together and creates a community among them. 3-3:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C.
Princeton Movement Theatre
The only tool needed for this mime performance is imagination. A short workshop for mime techniques and tricks will follow. 3-4 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Room 309.
These aerial entertainers trampoline up to 26 feet in the air with objects including hula-hoops and snowboards. The Skyriders have been performing for more than 16 years. 3:15-3:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall D.
American Repertory Theater: The Light Princess
ART is offering 50 free tickets to First Night button holders to see the children’s musical “The Light Princess,” which will be available for that day at 9 a.m. (the show begins at 10) at the Loeb Drama Center box office (64 Brattle St., Cambridge).
10 a.m.-noon, American Repertory Theater.
Boston Children’s Museum
First Night button holders may receive free admission to the Boston Children’s Museum on Dec. 31. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visitors must present their buttons at admission. Boston Children’s Museum.
Museum of Fine Arts
Free admission to the first 300 First Night button holders. There will be art making films showing and art-inspired gifts. 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts.
Mary Baker Eddy Library
The library offers free admission to First Night button holders. Performances include the Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band at 11:30 a.m., Odaiko New England at 1:30 p.m., and Back Bay Ringers at 3 p.m. Activities include face painting, arts, and crafts. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mary Baker Eddy Library.
USS Constitution Museum
Learn the skills that more than 30 officers who kept the USS Constitution running knew. Skills include writing with a quill pen, keeping a medical log book, and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Charlestown Navy Yard.
Otis House Museum
Harrison Gray Otis and his wife, Sally Foster Otis, are considered one of Boston’s memorable early-19th-century families. There will be free admission to their house, which is now a museum, for First Night button holders. There will also be a performance from 6-9 p.m. by musician Chris Renna. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Otis House Museum.
Jubilee Concert with H&H
Free admission to the first 50 First Night button holders. This concert by the Handel and Haydn Society is to commemorate President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
1-1:30 p.m. Museum of African American History.
Battery Wharf’s Pocket Museum
The US Maritime Museum will have complimentary refreshments and family activities as well as musical performances. Free to all First Night button holders. 1-3 p.m. North End Waterfront.
Museum of Science
This event will be free to First Night button holders, who can visit one exhibit hall per button. 2-5 p.m. Museum of Science.
Boston 4 Productions Family Fireworks
This intimate, 10-minute pyrotechnic show can be enjoyed by both families with youngsters that can’t make it to midnight and night owls looking to start their festivities off with a bang. 7 p.m. Boston Common Ballfield
Boston Poetry Slam
The Boston Poetry Slam has participated in the citywide First Night celebration for over a decade. This year, the typically nontraditional bunch returns to perform a series of fast-paced, 4-person demonstration slams in which poets compete to impress a judging panel of randomly selected members of the audience. Slams start at 7:30 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9 p.m.,
9:45 p.m., and 10:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center Room 208
Puppet Slam by Puppet Showplace Theatre
For the first time in First Night history, the Puppet Showplace Theatre will host a daylong cabaret-style puppetry festival. Recommended for ages 13 and up, the acts will include visually-compelling trick marionettes, elaborate shadow puppets, and a modernized version of Punch and Judy. The National Marionette Theatre, the Dolly Wagglers, Puppet Master Jake, and others will perform. Evening performances at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center Room 210
Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys
Ringmaster Walter Sickert and his band of anachronistic vaudevillians invite you into their rollicking carnival world of “steamCRUNK” music and eclectic performance art. 9:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center Hall D
Patti Smith & Her Band,
Because First Night belongs to us (sung to the tune of “Because the Night”), legendary punk poetess and award-winning author Patti Smith will rock the bells in Boston after ending her 14-year New Year’s residency at New York’s Bowery Ballroom in 2011. She is joined by indie rock champion Dean Wareham, formerly of Luna and Galaxie 500. 8:30-11:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Auditorium
Massmouth Story Slam
Some of Boston’s best storytellers perform in this special edition PG-13 First Night slam. MassMouth also invites volunteer audience members to the stage to share their stories of fear, magic, risk, and other Season V themes. This slam is for the love of the craft and will not be judged. 9:30-10:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center Room 207
The West African world-fusion band led by Senegalese rhythm guitarist and drummer Mamadou Diop incorporates the rhythms of high-life, juju, rumba, samba, salsa, and reggae into a multilingual melting pot of dance music. 7:30-9 p.m., Hynes Convention Center Hall D
Waterfront Family Fun Sites
After posing for photo ops next to the nine waterfront ice sculptures, warm up with a hot chocolate at one of the six Family Fun Sites. Enjoy music, snacks, and kid-friendly activities, and enter the drawing for a $500 Staycation Waterfront prize. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, USS Constitution Museum, Fairmont Battery Wharf, Marriott Long Wharf, Boston Harbor Hotel, District Hall.
Boston Harbor Hotel, Magellan Gallery
Sip hot chocolate and nibble complimentary cookies while viewing original historic maps of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay at the Magellan Gallery’s free exhibition of the Norman B. Leventhal Boston Harbor Map Collection.11 a.m.- noon. Boston Harbor Hotel, Rowes Wharf
Ice Sculptures at Faneuil Hall
Pose with family and friends for next year’s Christmas photo as a snow family, on a frozen bench, on an interactive ice sleigh, or next to an iceberg replica of the Red Sox World Series trophy. Noon-midnight. Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Ice Sculptures at Copley Square
Watch as sculpture artists Eric Fontecchio of Brookline Ice and Donald Chapelle of Brilliant Ice Sculptures chisel slabs of ice into works of art. At nightfall, the frozen figures will be illuminated in a dazzling spectrum of color. 2 p.m.-midnight. Copley Square
Bank of America Grand Procession
Inflatables, mobile sculptures, drummers, dancers, clowns, and duck boats will parade downtown to this year’s theme: a celebration of light. Sections of the procession will portray the light of the sun, light of the moon, lights of the city, and the light of imagination. 5:30- 6:30 p.m. Boylston Street
First Night Skating Spectacular
The Skating Club of Boston hosts an ice skating exhibition on the Frog Pond. Watch students, seasoned competitors, and champions from the local and national circuit perform their spirals, spins, jumps, and fancy footwork in programs choreographed to your favorite songs.
6-6:50 p.m. Boston Common
If Johnny Cash, Jimmy Page, and Brian Wilson ever formed a supergroup, it might sound something like Cask Mouse. The “outlaw” Americana folk-rockers bring their genre-spanning brand of musical storytelling to the outdoor stage for a foot-stomping good time. 7-8 p.m. Liberty Mutual Copley Stage, Copley Square
The Heart of Robin Hood
In this twist on the English legend, Robin Hood steals from the rich but hasn’t gotten around to distributing it to the poor. His love for Maid Marion transforms him from outlaw to hero. With gripping adventure, timeless romance, and a modernized original score inspired by contemporary folk music, the show has something for theatergoers of all ages. 2-4 p.m., 7:30-9:30 p.m. American Repertory Theatre, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge. 50 tickets free for First Night button holders, $25-$55 at the door. Ages 10+.
Blind Boys of Alabama,
Now in its seventh decade of making and performing music, the five-time Grammy Award-winning gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama brings its Southern charm to warm the souls at First Night. The group is joined by modern folk queen Anais Mitchell. 7:30-9:45 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Ballroom
The improv actors at ImprovBoston take suggestions from the audience woven into challenges, scenes, songs, and one-liners to create a spontaneous, high-energy performance for all ages. Evening performances begin at 7:30, 8:45, and 10 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Hall C
Recording artist, cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer Kendall Ramseur, who performed for poet Maya Angelou on her 80th birthday, brings his uplifting musical mission to First Night. 9:30-11 p.m.
Hynes Convention Center Room 206
The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra will play an original score for a screening of the Harold Lloyd classic. 7:30 p.m. Cutler Majestic Theater