fb-pixelThings to do in Greater Boston this winter - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
Globe Magazine

Things to do in Greater Boston this winter

Your seasonal calendar of events, music, theater, and more.

Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Hummingbird and Thorn, 1940. The first MFA exhibition to focus on Frida Kahlo delves into her fascination with arte popular, or folk art. image from Museum of Fine Arts


Love Hurts / February 14

The Moth alights at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for a Valentine’s Day story slam. Ten storytellers chosen at random perform five minutes on the painful theme; judges selected from the audience name the winners. Boston-based comedian Bethany Van Delft hosts. $15, seniors $12, students $10, under 18 free. 617-566-1401; gardnermuseum.org

Elizabeth McCracken / February 15

Eighteen years have passed since Somerville librarian turned award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken published a novel. The Boston native and Newton North grad reads from Bowlaway, the story of a mysterious stranger in a small Massachusetts town, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. Free. 617-491-2220; portersquarebooks.com


Mardi Gras & Carnival Celebration of the Arts / March 1

New Orleans comes to Brighton for Unbound Visual Arts’ annual Big Easy-style party. Live music by the cleverly named band A Confederacy of Dumpsters accompanies dancing, a silent auction, and art displays. An open house at the nearby headquarters of Unbound Visual Arts, an educational nonprofit, precedes the festivities.$15, $10 in advance; cash bar. 617-789-4100; unboundvisualarts.org

Taste of the South End  / March 19

The best chefs from one of Boston’s tastiest neighborhoods unite to benefit the AIDS Action Committee. Bring your appetite to the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, where you’ll find a 21-plus crowd indulging in unlimited food samples, wine and beer tastings, live cooking presentations, a silent auction, and more. From $150. 857-313-6734; tasteofthesouthend.org

27th Annual Waltham Food, Wine, and Craft Beer Festival / March 28

Hop over to Waltham to explore one of the most diverse local dining and drinking scenes. Taste test international cuisine, sample wine, and check out breweries including Mighty Squirrel, which recently opened a taproom in town. Also on the menu: live music and a silent auction. The party takes place at and benefits the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. $35. 781-893-5410; walthamfoodandwine.com


High Mud Comedy Festival / March 29-30

Mass MoCA’s annual laugh riot features established and up-and-coming performers, comedy workshops, live music, and more. This year’s headliners are Judah Friedlander (30 Rock, Wet Hot American Summer) and Michelle Buteau (Enlisted, First Wives Club). Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan hosts the event, recommended for ages 16 and up. From $45, students $20. 413-662-2111; massmoca.org

Karamo Live! / March 23

Best known for his role on Netflix’s Queer Eye, Karamo Brown is a trained psychotherapist and the author of a new book, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope. In an interactive event at the Shubert Theatre, he talks about his life and welcomes audience members to “participate in the healing and conversation.” From $35. 866-348-9738; bochcenter.org


Vegan Market / February 17

Whether or not your food had parents, check out the Vegan Market at the Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville. More than 20 local vendors offer committed and curious shoppers a wide range of plant-based food, dog treats, and beauty products as well as greeting cards, art, and more. The House Rabbit Network will be on hand to teach visitors how to care for pet rabbits. Free. 617-718-2191; artsatthearmory.org

Blue Hills Winter Fest / February 26

Chase the chills with chili — and exercise — at the Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton. Take a hike, ski (discounted tickets are available), and help judge the best chili in a competition involving local restaurants. Kid-friendly arts and crafts and a live performance by Worcester-based Irish band Songs for Ceilidh will warm up the lodge along with a roaring fire. Free. 617-696-8248; friendsofthebluehills.org


Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party / February 15-24

Reminisce and rediscover more than 50 of Disney’s most loved characters as the hunt for Tinker Bell drives a performance incorporating skating, acrobatics, and special effects. The school vacation week tradition unfolds at the TD Garden, where Mickey and Minnie help launch a show that incorporates classics ranging from Beauty and the Beast (1991) to Moana (2016). From $15. disneyonice.com


Boyz II Men / February 14

In the battle of the ‘90s boy bands, local favorites New Kids on the Block hold Boston’s heart — but Boyz II Men have the soul. The trio is celebrating its most successful album on the “25th Anniversary of II” tour. Get into the R&B groove and accompany Valentine’s night with classics like “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee” at the Orpheum Theatre. $43-$205. crossroadspresents.com

A Tribute to Aretha Franklin / February 17

The Queen of Soul lives on in song. Celebrate Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) at a concert featuring five Berklee College of Music professors — vocalists Donna McElroy, Dennis Montgomery, and Nedelka Prescod, and instrumentalists Sean Skeete and Winston Maccow. At the Abundant Life Church in Cambridge. $30. 617-945-8052; cambridgejazzfestival.org


The Dirty Dozen Brass Band / February 24

Getting a jump on Mardi Gras (March 5), the New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band brings its crowd-pleasing blend of brass, funk, R&B, and soul to The Sinclair in Cambridge. The opening act is Cha Wa, a self-described “New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit.” Wear your dancing shoes. $25-$28. 617-451-7700; sinclaircambridge.com

Be Glad Then, America! / March 2

Subtitled “Great American Choral Music from Billings to Bernstein,” the winter concert by the Cambridge-based Spectrum Singers features selections by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Foster, Charles Ives, and more. At the First Church in Harvard Square. $15-$45. 617-492-8902; spectrumsingers.org

Shawn Colvin / March 22

Folk-rock legend Shawn Colvin is a three-time Grammy winner with a famously devoted following. Thirty years after the release of her debut album, Steady On, she’s on tour in support of her 2018 kids’ recording, The Starlighter. The celebrated singer-songwriter visits Sanders Theatre. $35-$72. 617-482-6661; celebrityseries.org


Movies at the Marketplace / February 18-21

Take a movie break during school vacation week at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The lower rotunda of Quincy Market turns into a theater for Incredibles 2 (Monday), Hotel Transylvania 3 (Tuesday), Coco (Wednesday), and Paddington 2 (Thursday). Free. faneuilhallmarketplace.com

Cuba / Opening February 15

Travel between the United States and Cuba is easier than it’s been in decades, but the Caribbean island nation remains fascinating in its relative isolation. The new IMAX film brings an immersive look at Cuba’s architecture, landscapes, marine ecosystems, and culture to the Museum of Science. $10, seniors $9, child 3-11 $8. 617-723-2500; mos.org



South Asian Showdown / February 23

Get a taste of Bollywood music, dance, and entertainment at the 10th Annual South Asian Showdown. The lively competition draws fusion and Bollywood dance teams from as far away as Arizona to John Hancock Hall in the Back Bay for an evening of good-natured drama, explosive moves, and beautiful outfits. $25-$100. 617-448-2508; southasianshowdown.com

Under Control / March 2-3

Boston-based jazz and contemporary dance company Project 31 performs at Boston University Dance Theater. Founder/ artistic director Kenzie Finn and company member/MIT grad student Lindsey Orgren choreographed the piece, which depicts the struggles and pressures of everyday life. $25, students and seniors $22; in advance $20, students and seniors $18. 617-456-6295; project31dance.org

Israel Folkdance Festival / March 10

Traditional horas, Moroccan numbers, and a performance by the festival’s first participants from outside North America — the Lehakat Kadima troupe from Porto Alegre, Brazil — will have the audience at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium on its feet. The finale, choreographed with Israeli Dance Festival DC, honors the victims of the October shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. $20, $18 in advance. bostonfestival.org

UNTITLED_I will be there when you die / March 15-16

Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni — recipient of the 2019 Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement — returns to the Institute of Contemporary Art with four professional jugglers. Expect intricate patterns and laser-like concentration, all intended to signify the passage of time. $25, students $15. 617-478-3100; icaboston.org

Full on Forsythe / March 7-17

More than a quarter century after acclaimed choreographer William Forsythe created a work for an American company, Boston Ballet presents the world premiere of Playlist (EP), with a contemporary soundtrack of pop, R&B, and dance music. The program continues with the North American premiere of Blake Works I and concludes with Pas/Parts 2018, a revision of a 1999 piece for Paris Opera Ballet. From $37. 617-695-6955; bostonballet.org


Spamilton: An American Parody / February 12-April 7

How do you make fun of Hamilton? Gerard Alessandrini, who grew up in Needham and wrote the classic revue Forbidden Broadway, has some thoughts about the international phenomenon. A cast of seven sends up Lin-Manuel Miranda and his brainchild at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company. $25; discounts for seniors, students, military, and people under 35. 617-266-0800; huntingtontheatre.org

School of Rock / February 12-24

The national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock — based on the 2003 Jack Black movie — visits the Boston Opera House. The lead role of Dewey, the overly enthusiastic guitarist teacher who transforms an elementary school class into a rock band, is played by Merritt David James, who grew up in Vermont and attended the University of Maine. From $40. boston.broadway.com

When Angels Fall / February 20-24

Trained as an aerialist and contortionist, Raphaëlle Boitel unites the circus arts with theater, dance, and film in When Angels Fall. The seven-person production at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre tells the wordless story of flightless angels in a postapocalyptic world ruled by machines. From $20, seniors and students from $15. 617-824-8400; artsemerson.org

Dragon Cycle / March 20-April 6

Writer-director-actor Sara Porkalob returns to Oberon in Cambridge to extend her musical family history. Dragon Cycle incorporates a revival of Dragon Lady, which drew rave reviews last year, and Dragon Mama, which focuses on Porkalob’s mother (the Dragon Lady’s daughter). From $35. 617-547-8300; americanrepertorytheater.org


Botticelli: Heroines + Heroes / February 14-May 19

The first painting by the legendary Sandro Botticelli to make the trip to the United States, the Story of Lucretia has hung at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 1894, separated from its companion piece, the Story of Virginia. This exhibition reunites the paintings and displays them in the context of pieces that date from the Renaissance to the present day — American graphic novelist Karl Stevens’s work is part of the show. $15, seniors $12, students $10, under 18 free. 617-566-1401; gardnermuseum.org

Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular / February 27-June 16

The first Museum of Fine Arts exhibition to focus on Frida Kahlo delves into her fascination with arte popular, or folk art. Considering Kahlo (1907-1954) as both artist and art collector, the show explores her inspirations — ceramics, textiles, paintings, and other pieces by her fellow Mexican artists — alongside her own works, from the MFA’s permanent collections and on loan. $25, seniors $23, kids 7-17 $10, under 7 free. 617-267-9300; mfa.org

Whales Today / Opening February 18

Past, present, and future unite at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which expands its Whales Today exhibition to include a life-size model of a blue whale’s heart. Combining anatomy, ecology, conservation, and commerce, the story of whales is also the story of humans and their relationship — positive and negative — with the oceans. $17, seniors $15, students $10, kids 4-18 $7, under 4 free. 508-997-0046; whalingmuseum.org

Gender Bending Fashion / March 21-August 25

From screen idol Marlene Dietrich out on the town in a top hat and tails to rapper Young Thug shooting hoops in a skirt, fashion icons walk all over the idea of gender norms. The Museum of Fine Arts presents a multimedia exhibition that explores the issues surrounding self-expression through fashion. $25, seniors $23, ages 7-17 $10, 6 and under free. 617-267-9300; mfa.org

Share your event news. Send information on Boston-area happenings at least four weeks in advance to week@globe.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.