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A sports activism panel, virtual reality, and robotic musicians

Kathy Bisbee, right, executive director of the Brookline Interactive Group, interviews Sasha Bennett, a 7-year-old Kenyan child who has planted over 320 trees. Handout
A Kenyan woman trying virtual reality for the first time at United Nations Environment Assembly. Handout

Brookline Interactive Group, a community media arts center in Brookline, has partnered with United Nations Environment Programme to launch an online and virtual reality data visualization experience to teach users about air pollution. “There’s Something in the Air” tracks changes in air pollution by country in five-year increments from 1990 to 2010 and then yearly between 2010 and 2015. “We want to inspire local communities,’’ Kathy Bisbee, the arts center’s executive director, said in a statement, “to craft their own collaborative, immersive storytelling and visual data experiences, and to then be able to share their experiences and data with other communities around the world, with compelling, visceral, and visual storytelling around critical issues in the public interest.” To view, visit For more information, visit


Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL game in Seattle in September 2016.AP File Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Eliot School Performance Center at 135 Wellesley Ave. in Needham is hosting a panel on the role of athletes as social and political advocates on Monday, April 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. The panel will include Needham residents Jim Hirsch and Bill Littlefield. Hirsch is an author who has written about sports, race, and American culture, and Littlefield is the host of WBUR’s “Only A Game” program. The discussion will be led by William Smith, executive director of the National Center for Race Amity at Wheelock College. For more information, visit

Composer and violinist Kurt Coble's robotic musicians will perform in “Phantom of the Opera Reinvented" Sunday, April 8 in Weston.Handout

The Rivers School Conservatory, at 331 Winter St. in Weston will present “Phantom of the Opera Reinvented,” Sunday, April 8, at 1 p.m. The theatrical experience created by composer and violinist Kurt Coble will feature solo pianist Vytas Baksys and an ensemble of robotic musicians performing selections from the 1925 silent film “Phantom of the Opera.” Coble created software and hardware that powers the robotic musicians in his Partially Artificial Musician band. The robots can play instruments like the guitar, violin, drums, and more, and have appeared in museums and concert halls across the country, including the New York Hall of Science, Lincoln Center, and Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Tickets for the event are $10. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit More information about Coble’s robotic musicians can be found at


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