While more and more Massachusetts businesses and cultural institutions are reopening as COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue, many residents are still staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of in-person and virtual things to do 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].
Now that Massachusetts is beginning to reopen its businesses in earnest, Kentucky Derby weekend is suddenly turning into a bigger to-do than usual, as indicated by the events below. To celebrate the annual race, the Boston.com cocktail club is mixing beverages you can enjoy with friends on Derby weekend. Host Jackson Cannon (Eastern Standard, The Hawthorne) and guest bartender Alex Larochelle (Six West) will be mixing up a classic Mint Julep as well as a newer horse race beverage, The Kentucky Spire. Attending the Zoom is free, and you can purchase a kit with all the ingredients you’ll need here. Proceeds from the event benefit Off Their Plate.
Are you a fan of gut-busting improv comedy? What about ear-shattering opera? This Thursday at 8 p.m., the Boston Lyric Opera will combine the two mediums for Tonic Hour, a recurring production that uses audience participation to create humorous twists on classic operas. Though this month’s edition is based on classic opera “The Merry Widow,” knowledge of opera or improv is not required to enjoy the event. Registration is now open on Eventbrite.
Roxbury-born rapper Keith “Guru” Elam was one of the most influential MCs in the late ’80s and early ’90s as one half of pioneering rap duo Gang Starr. Though Guru passed away in 2010, his legacy has impacted countless musicians over the last few decades. On Thursday night at 8 p.m., Guru’s family and Boston-area artists will discuss Guru’s life and cultural impact during BeWords: Lyrics, Legacy & Love, a free virtual event produced by Boston Art & Music Soul Fest and live-streamed on YouTube.
Order slushies and mozzarella sticks at the new Vera’s
Out with the old, in with the new: On Friday, Brass Union transforms into Vera’s, a cocktail-centric restaurant in Somerville’s Union Square featuring seasonal slushies, spritzes, and comfort food. Round up a couple of friends and stop in for house-made fried mozzarella sticks, a raw bar selection, and refreshing cocktails or wine, all of which can be enjoyed on the patio, indoors, or for takeout or delivery.
The Museum of Fine Arts has reopened its doors, but the art institution will continue to produce virtual events for at least a little while longer. Starting Friday, you can enjoy the beauty of spring with the MFA’s annual Art in Bloom event, which has gone all-virtual this year. The museum will showcase works of art that have been paired with eye-catching floral designs created by nearby garden clubs. Registration for the virtual tour is available on the MFA website.
While 2020 was definitely a boom year for drive-in theaters thanks to the pandemic, 2021 still has plenty of opportunities to enjoy both new and classic films on an outdoor screen. This Friday and Saturday, Mendon Twin Drive-In has four new titles split into two double features to choose from. At 8 p.m., choose between Warner Bros’ creature feature “Godzilla vs. Kong” or Japanese import “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train,” a Japanese action film that grossed hundreds of millions worldwide before its debut in America last weekend. Then at 10:15, “Godzilla” will be followed by video game adaptation “Mortal Kombat,” while “Demon Slayer” is followed by “The Unholy,” a supernatural horror movie filmed in Massachusetts in 2019 and 2020. Tickets are available on the Mendon Twin website.
Have a mint julep (or two!)
The Kentucky Derby returns on Saturday, and with it, a slew of celebrations at bars and restaurants across Boston. At Cunard Tavern in Eastie, diners can pop by (with an RSVP) between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to sip on the restaurant’s inaugural bottles of single barrel Select Eagle Rare Kentucky bourbon, mint juleps, and Derby-inspired appetizers. Prizes for “best hat” and “best dressed” will be awarded. Coppersmith in Southie will serve up a Kentucky fried chicken bucket and mint juleps, while City Tap House in the Seaport is throwing a full-on party with a photo station, specialty swag, themed food, and frozen mint juleps starting at 11 a.m. Over in the Fenway, Loretta’s Last Call, Game On!, and Lansdowne Pub will all offer food and drink specials, plus prizes for the best Derby hat. And at The Beehive, the South End restaurant will host a Kentucky Derby pre-game fête, featuring mint juleps, pimento cheese deviled eggs, walnut bourbon French toast, and more.
Soak in some sunshine at these freshly reopened patios
Need a little vitamin D? A handful of beer gardens, wine gardens, and patios will reopen on Saturday to kick off a sunny weekend. City Winery on the Greenway will return at 1 p.m. on May 1, offering wine on tap alongside beer and cider from Harpoon Brewery. In Cambridge, Lamplighter Brewing is opening its beer garden for the season — reservations are required. Tuscan Kitchen’s Il Giardino in the Seaport is making its seasonal debut, a 23,000-square-foot patio featuring pizza, a raw bar, and an Aperol spritz cart starting on Saturday at noon. And in the South End, Shore Leave will bring back its Life Raft patio with a brand new food and drink menu.
Put aside your Italian, French, and Oregon varietals for a night and consider this: New England is making some pretty funky wine. On Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., join Somerville wine bar Rebel Rebel for a virtual class on New England’s burgeoning wine scene, with the chance to taste two local wines and learn more about the leading players, what grapes to look out for, and which wineries you should visit. In addition to the hour-long discussion, attendees will receive one regional recipe and one film recommendation to cap off the night. Tickets may be purchased here.
Chances are you’ve seen comedian Aida Rodriguez on your television, whether it was during her appearance on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” or the Netflix comedian anthology series “Tiffany Haddish Presents.” Now, you can see the Boston-born comic in person at Laugh Boston, with Rodriguez performing a set on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or more info on the COVID-19 protocols that will be in effect, visit the Laugh Boston website.
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