Boston Calling Music Festival

Last weekend I attended the sold out 3rd installment of Boston Calling, a 3-day musical festival that drew over 60,000 spectators (roughly 22,000 per day) to City Hall Plaza.

Boston Calling

Check out that lineup! I love that the city has made this a regular event, and has been able to secure some great talent.

Boston Calling Lineup

I am posting this from the airport (more on that later), and having trouble getting my embedded videos to display, so Here are some links to the highlights:

  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home. These guys were so fun. At one point, lead singer Alex Ebert came down into the crowd, grabbed a fan's cell phone, and proceeded to take a video of all his band mates and their view from the stage, before returning the phone to its owner (complete with selfie).
  • Jack Johnson - Sitting Waiting Wishing. They also had fun with the audience: when a young woman down front held up a sign indicating she could play his songs on the guitar, Johnson brought her up on stage to jam with the band. It was fantastic.
  • Jack Johnson + Edward Sharpe - Rocky Raccoon. For his encore, Johnson brought his opening act back out to join him in a cover of the Beatles classic.
  • The Neighborhood - Sweater Weather. I saw this band from LA when they opened for Imagine Dragons in Boston last year.
  • Bastille cover of 1993 Corona hit, Rhythm of the Night. Bastille sounded awesome, and really got the crowd moving, as evidenced by this video. Lead singer Dan Smith also interacted with the crowd, donning a gray hoodie and then plowing through his fans while he sang.


We closed out Sunday night with some Modest Mouse.

Maria and steph

All in all, a really fun weekend.

Bonus track: Ray Lamontagne - Trouble, at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion last night. Now my week of music is complete. Stay tuned for a week of fashion & design...from Italy!

Parties on the Harbor

Springtime fundraisers are in full effect, now that the weather is getting better and people are anxious to mix and mingle.  I attended two this past week with similar names but on opposites sides of the Boston Harbor:

1) The Insitute of Contemporary Art's annual gala, Party on the Harbor.

This was a fantastic event. First off, you can't beat the ICA's gorgeous space overlooking the water in Boston's Seaport district. Add to that an eclectic and outgoing crowd, music by DJs Frank White and Questlove (leader of Jimmy Fallon's house band, The Roots), tarot card readings in the museum's glass-encased elevator, an amazing midnight buffet (mac-n-cheese! truffles!) and the obligatory party photo-booth and you have a hit. 

Photo Booth
In the photo booth with Joanne

While I didn't get to enjoy the high roller dinner earlier in the evening ($15K-$100K per table) and Keytar Bear failed to show up for a late-night performance, it was a really fun night in support of a wonderful institution.

Questlove on the decks...
Dance Party
...and a dance party ensued.

2) Charlestown YMCA's fundraiser at the Residence Inn on Tudor Wharf, Pahty on the Hahbah.

A much smaller event, but well attended by area residents, youths, and the servicemen and women who benefit from the Y's programs. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, live music, passed hors d'ouvres, and a beautiful (if chilly) view of the harbor from under a tent on the wharf.

Pahty on the hahbah
Charlestown YMCA's Pahty on the Hahbah

The partying continued on and near the harbor all through Memorial Day weekend. More on that to come.

One Year Later

One yearHere we are, one year later.

It was on January 27, 2012 that I went into MGH at 9am for a mammogram, and went home at 3pm the same day with a cancer diagnosis. What a blur that day was.

But I will never  forget the conversation I had with Cathy Furlani, one of my nurses in the cancer center, soon thereafter. She said, "Stephanie, I wish I had a crystal ball so I could show you what you'll look like one year from now. You'll be like a new woman, and you'll feel great."  And she was right! 

So when I went to get my hair cut last week (I've had it done 3 times already!) I was thrilled to see that Cathy was among the most recent honorees at The One Hundred, an annual fundraiser sponsored by the MGH Cancer Center that celebrates one hundred individuals and groups who have helped advance the fight against cancer.

Patricia Wrixon, owner of the Salon at 10 Newbury, was another honoree, for her work providing wigs to cancer patients. I have Patricia to thank for hooking me up with Kristen Wiig, and her colleague Kimberly Bruno for keeping my new pixie cut in shape!

The beads around my wrist were a gift from my sister and her daughters, to mark the end of the last year and give hope for the future. They came from Amazima Ministries, a nonprofit designed to educate and empower the people of Uganda through child sponsorship, meals, medical care, spiritual studies, and vocational programs like jewelry-making, carpentry and farming. The jewelry making program is a great key to success in helping women take care of their own families - and then in turn helping whole villages begin to care for their own and thrive.

Closer to home, there is another effort underway to provide hope, this one through music and laughter for cancer patients. My friends Jane and Alastair have two beautiful twin girls, one of whom was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Alastair is a musician, and during the long months of treatment he found that the brightest moments at the hospital were spent singing and writing songs with his daughter. So now he's putting together an album full of songs  about appreciating the little things, coping with hardship, and embracing struggle.  There will be a video accompanying one  particular song - When I Get Bald - a fun, empowering track about losing hair. He's currently looking for cancer patients who might be willing to share their "bald and proud" photos for inclusion (I sent two!). To learn more, or to donate to the project so that Alastair can make the album a free resource for patients and pediatric oncology programs around the country, you can visit his webpage here.

Authentic Counterfeit


We saw a fun band on Friday night on our swing through Kingston Station, a local group called Authentic Counterfeit. They had sort of a jazz/R&B thing going on - including a great rendition of Just the Two of Us - although their Facebook page hints at a much broader repertoire including Hip Hop, Rock, Alternative, Metal and more (!)

Check 'em out if you get a chance.

National Conference for Media Reform

Attention fellow media, arts, technology, and culture junkies!

Ncmr2011 This April, Boston will host the fifth annual National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR), where over 2500 people will gather to collaborate on a new vision for our media system.

For three days, NCMR participants will explore the future of journalism and public media, consider how technology is changing the world, look at the policies and politics shaping our media, and discuss strategies to build the movement for better media.

While the full program schedule won't be available until late March, it promises to include include live musical performances, film screenings and over 50 interactive sessions about journalism and public media, technology and innovation, policy and politics, arts and culture, social justice and movement building, plus hands-on workshops and how-to trainings.

I'm particularly interested in the "Media Makers, Culture, and the Arts" track, which will explore music, art, film and other creative media, showcasing inspiring projects, examining how media and technology are affecting our culture, and connecting the arts to media policy and politics.

Here's a sneak peek of the event:

NCMR is the brainchild of the non-profit organization Free Press, which is dedicated to making media reform a bona fide political issue in America. Through education and advocacy they promote independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism, and universal access to communications. From their web site:

Our media system is in a crisis.

The takeover of our country's media outlets by a small handful of giant conglomerates puts too much power and influence in too few hands. That's bad for our democracy, which depends on our ability to access diverse sources of news, information and opinion.

Our media is in trouble in other ways, too.

The big cable and phone companies that control access to the Internet want to be gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites and services you can use depending on which companies have paid them the most. They want to turn the open Internet we've always had into a closed, private toll road.

And public broadcasting, one of our most valuable public resources, is under constant threat in Washington by those who would cripple alternatives to the commercial media and muzzle the critical voices and diverse fare that public media offer.

It's up to us to change the media. The way we do that is by changing media policies.

NCMR 2011 takes place April 8-10, 2011 at the Seaport World Trade Center. About 2,500 people are expected to attend, so get your tickets now! Early bird registration is available through January 28th at $125; regular registration is $175.

Hope to see you there!


Christmas with the Copley Singers

Today Charlestown hosted a special holiday concert and community sing along with the Copley Singers, a group of professional and volunteer singers formed in 2006 and led by Brian Jones.

It was held in the gorgeous St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Church, where Mark Dwyer helmed the 122-year-old Woodberry and Harris organ, complete with 2501 pipes. It's magnificent to behold: the pipework ranges from tin, pencil-sized ones all the way up to 18-foot wooden ones, and they are split into two sections so not to obscure the stained glass window at the back of the Church.

Charlestown 019The Church itself was built in 1887 in the Tudor-Gothic style; its roof is a hammerbeam design which doesn't require columns:

Charlestown 014Note the brass light fixtures from the 1890s (originally designed for gas) and stained glass windows created by Mayer of Munich (still in operation today). The Stations of the Cross were designed by ecclesiastical sculptor Joseph Sibbel, who also built the famous statue of St. Patrick at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

The Choir lead the community in over 15 carols, both ancient and modern, including We Need a Little Christmas, O Come All Ye Faithful, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Feliz Navidad, and Silent Night. Here are a couple of snippets, one with the organ, and one an a cappella number that gives you a good view of the Church.



Thank you to the event sponsors, St. Mary's Church, Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library, and Hammond Residential Real Estate, who also encouraged donations to the Harvest on Vine Food Pantry.

Join me at the Helping Hands Festivale

You're invited to an exciting evening of food, music, and art!

Helping Hands FestivaleIt's the Helping Hands Festivale, taking place on Saturday, November 6th at the WGBH Studios in Boston

Buy your tickets and join us for:

A portion of the proceeds will support the Monkey Helper Training and Placement Program at Helping Hands, a national nonprofit serving people with mobility-impairments by providing highly trained monkeys to assist with daily activities.

It's a wonderful organization, and the Festivale promises to be a great night.

Buy your tickets and/or sponsor the event on the Helping Hands web site, and please help us spread the word on Facebook.

I hope to see you there!


Amazon's Universal Wish List

One more reason to love their Universal Wishlist let's you add any web page to your Amazon Wishlist. Simply drag a button to your bookmarks toolbar on your browser, and tag away.

Wishlist_2Now, you can store all your desirables - whether available through Amazon or not - in one place for easy reference and sharing...perfect for the upcoming holidays.

[Note to close friends and family: you can view my Wishlist here :) ]


Amazon gets 2.0

Weekend Happenings

Lot's of exciting things happening in the city this weekend:

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Opening Celebration takes place Saturday from 8am to 8pm. Walk the entire length of parks (where that ugly, elevated highway once stood) and experience free yoga classes, arts & crafts, a farmers market, petting zoo, and live music, among other things. There's even a text-messaging-based scavenger hunt: sign-up by texting GRNWAY to 80108 or visit on your mobile phone and enter your phone number. There's a treasure map available to download here (pdf).
Check out the full schedule of events; afterwards, be sure to share your event photos with the Greenway Conservancy's Flickr pool, and friend them on Facebook!
GreenwayTomorrow is also the last day to catch Exiles at the Museum of Fine Arts. The film chronicles a day in the life of a group of twenty-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in LA.

If you're looking for something a bit more frivolous, then head down to the Seaport for Harpoon Brewery's 19th Annual Octoberfest.

And finally, on Sunday, the South End Open Market hosts Baked Fresh, a day of live music, food, and products from over 120 local artists, crafters, and entrepreneurs.