Today I joined dozens of legislators from around Massachusetts in riding the T to work as a part of “Gov on the T,” a project focused on raising awareness about the problems facing our public transit system.
Many of my constituents have called or written me in recent months to express their profound frustration with the current state of public transit in Greater Boston. Though this winter has made the poor state of the MBTA’s equipment obvious, regular transit riders know that our system has difficulties year-round. Much of this is due to aging and obsolete equipment that is overdue for replacement. Unfortunately, continued budget problems at the T have hampered new investment and led to fare increases for commuters. Without new revenue or a reduction in expenses, the ability for the T to serve as a foundation of our region’s economy will continue to be at risk.
For this reason, I support alleviating the T of some of the so-called “Big Dig Debt” as a way to reduce pressure on its budget. While this debt is associated with legitimate public transit projects that were built as a part of Big Dig mitigation agreements, it continues to contribute to budget deficits that keep the T from making needed investments in signaling systems and other equipment that directly impact service quality. Shifting this debt obligation to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund would provide over $100 million in relief to the T every year.
While we still have a lot of hard work to do in order to achieve the public transit system that we want and deserve, I also think that it is important to acknowledge some of the recent victories we have achieved in pursuit of this goal. Two years ago, the legislature passed transportation financing legislation that helped jump start investment in equipment and system expansion. Since then, the T has entered into a contract for the purchase of 284 new subway cars in order to upgrade to the aging Red and Orange Line fleets. Delivery of the new cars is scheduled to begin in 2019, and will provide substantial reliability improvements for Red and Orange line riders.
This transportation financing legislation also helped secure a $1 billion New Starts grant from the federal government for the Green Line Extension. This grant is absolutely critical to extending Green Line service to areas of Somerville that have been the most chronically underserved by mass transit. It also brings with it the purchase of new Green Line cars and the construction of a new Green Line maintenance facility, which will serve Green Line riders system-wide.
As someone who believes that public transit is an essential public good, this winter has been difficult and at times discouraging. For that reason, I want to thank everyone who has called, written, or stopped by my office to advocate for a better transit system. Your voices have helped bring this issue into focus for elected officials across Massachusetts, and it is essential that we keep the conversation going.
We’re thankfully getting closer to the many local outdoor festivities that Somerville and Cambridge have to offer every Spring, but we’ll first have to deal with the reappearance of King Winter this weekend. As always, you can avoid the gloomy weather with some of the many fun indoor cultural activities our community has to offer.
Don’t miss “AcousticaElectronica” tonight at the Oberon in Cambridge. Presented by Touch Performance Art, this performance blends elements of electronic and classical music, dance, circus arts, and immersive theater with the energy of contemporary nightclubs.
If you’re looking for a more traditional dance/theatre collaborative, Paradise Lost will perform “Lost in Time” at the Multicultural Arts Center on Friday and Saturday. The show will address various topics from identity, to childhood into adolescence, transportation journeys, and human interactions.
Want to see a Colossal Fossil? If you do, head over to the Museum of Science (MOS) on Saturday to see the: Triceratops Cliff where you can get an up-close view of this 65-million-year-old fossil, discovered in the Dakota Badlands in 2004. Named for the grandfather of its anonymous donor, Cliff is one of only four nearly complete Triceratops on public display anywhere in the world. MOS is open between 9am and 5pm on Saturday and this exhibit is free if you buy an Exhibits Hall ticket.
Finally, you’ve got two great alternatives to end the weekend on a cultural high-note. The opening reception of “Motion, Memory,” the work of three artists whose work is a hybrid of photography combined with painting or printmaking, will take place between 3-5pm at the Brickbottom Gallery in Somerville, while hundreds of dancers will take to the stage at the Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston at M.I.T.’s Kresge Auditorium. The thirty-ninth annual performance includes dancing feet and flying horas, Spanish-infused Ladino steps, and lithe Yemenite movements.
The sun will be shining this weekend and temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s so we can finally enjoy some local shopping and dining again. First though, start of the weekend with some music at the Armory in Somerville from 7:30-9:30pm where the new trio of Eric Hofbauer, Aaron Darrell, and Curt Newton will bring together three distinctive voices from Boston’s vital jazz and improvised music scene.
The Armory in Somerville
On Saturday from noon-4pm, The Great Boston Chili Bowl will bring local Boston and Cambridge restaurants and breweries together to showcase their variations of chili and beer. All funds raised by this event will advance research toward effective treatments at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), the world’s largest drug development organization dedicated to ending ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
After filling up on local chili and beer, head over to the Somerville Theatre to watch the world-renowned Alloy Orchestra, a three man musical ensemble, writing and performing live accompaniment to classic silent films, present the Boston premiere of its live musical score to the 1926 classic silent film The Son of the Sheik, directed by George Fitzmaurice and starring Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Bánky, and George Fawcett.
Finally, for all the museum lovers out there, cap off the weekend at the Harvard Semitic Museum to see the rich assortment of antiquities collected by museum founder David Gordon Lyon (1852-1935). See Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, ancient Palestinian pottery, Egyptian funerary art, and ethnographic treasures, along with Lyon’s own excavation photographs this Sunday between 1-4pm.
The Otis Street Playground community meeting previously scheduled for February 3rd has been rescheduled for Tuesday evening March 3rd at the East Somerville Community School Cafeteria at 50 Cross Street from 6:30-8:00 pm.
A team of landscape architects will draft the new park plans, but the city needs resident input to be sure that the new design meets all the needs of the community. Spanish and Portuguese interpreters will be available.
We’re finally going to have a, hopefully, precipitation-free weekend with some sunlight. It’s still going to be freezing cold, however, so here are a few warm indoor ways to enjoy your weekend.
Using 50,000 lumens of projection systems, Visualize Somerville is bringing you the chance to climb a waterfall, a picturesque mountain peak, or even a lava flow all in one night in an event hosted by BKB and Aeronaut Brewing. Featuring climbing on projection mapping, live DJs, and an art show highlighting Somerville and Boston-based artists, this one-night experience will add another dimension to your climbing experience.
Bluegrass Fridays are back in the Café at the Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville. The event is free and you can either listen to the host musicians play or jump in with your own instrument.
Don’t miss the artists behind “Fields of Viewpoints” talk about their work at the Kathryn Schultz Gallery in Cambridge. Saturday represents the last day of this interesting collaborative exhibit that features “four artists whose work reflects various ranges, prospects, scans, scoped, observations, interpretations, and involvement. This show is part of the Cambridge Art Association’s 70th exhibition year.
Later on Saturday evening, Altan, one of the world’s finest traditional Irish bands, will transport your mind to the beautiful rolling hills of Ireland at the Somerville Theater.
If you’d rather be transported to the romantic streets of Paris, head over to the First Church in Cambridge to experience the tunes of Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston.
Cap off the weekend with some American classics presented by the acclaimed song duo Valerie Anastasio & Tim Harbold in their new show, In the Mood – A Time Capsule of Classics from 1939. Valerie & Tim showcase a remarkable year in film and song with songs from The Wizard of Oz, along with beloved song hits of the year including In the Mood, All the Things You Are, Good Morning, And the Angels Sing, Sunrise Serenade, Beer Barrel Polka, and Lydia the Tattooed Lady.
As part of the Green Line Extension (GLX) project, it will be necessary for the GLX contractor, White Skanska Kiewit, to close the eastbound travel/bike lane and west side sidewalk between School Street and Walnut Street to vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic for the purposes of erecting a temporary utility bridge.
Residents will be able to cross Medford Street over to the east side sidewalk to cross over the bridge and the westbound lane will be reconfigured to allow for two-way vehicular and bike traffic.
This construction will start tomorrow, Tuesday February 24th at 8:30 AM and last until the end of September 2015. Signage providing direction and detail police providing assistance will be available to assist vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic.
Please click here to learn more about the GLX project, and feel free to contact the GLX project team at 855-GLX-INFO or info@glxinfo should you have any questions.
This weekend’s Going-Out Guide for Cambridge and Somerville features music, laughs, plenty of educational opportunities, and a free yoga lesson.
If you’re curious about how pasta is made, you can buy tickets to “Lilly’s Fresh Pasta talk and lunch.” The event is part of the Harvard Food Literacy Program and Lilly will share her story about emigrating to America and starting a pasta business in the Boston area. Tickets are $5 per person and the event is between 12pm – 1:30pm at Harvard University’s Dudley House.
Later on Friday, you have the chance to spend a few hours laughing at the 10th annual College Comedy Festival and Beanpot Tournament at ImprovBoston in Cambridge. The competition features contestants from all over New England and is a great opportunity to discover future comedy stars.
For all you music history buffs, enjoy the free “History of Synthesis Part 1: Before the Moog” at MMMMaven. The interactive seminar uses sound and video recordings of early synthesizers and offers the audience a chance to play on one of these mythical machines.
Over in Davis Square, the Somerville Theatre offers a historical lesson in the form of a rare historic dramatization of the 1968 capture of the USS Pueblo by North Korean from 8pm to 10pm.
Kick-off your Saturday morning at the Harvard Museum of Natural History where you can explore fossils of long-extinct animals, sketch a mammal, excavate a mock dinosaur dig, or discover life in a rotting log while interacting with scientists and graduate students studying topics ranging from tiny insects to dinosaurs.
After spending a few hours with fossils, you can head over to Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville where you can learn the difference between a lariat and an opera necklace in a Beading for Beginners class. The two-hour session is led by Arlene Elkins of Alchemist’s Apprentice, requires no previous experience, and you’ll get to leave with the necklace you bead.
Wear that beautiful new necklace to “An Evening with the Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh Quartet” at the Armory in Somerville or to East End Grille where you can watch The Undercovers play the hits of the 60s and 70s.
Top off your weekend by unwinding physically and mentally from several weeks of commuter stress and snow shoveling with a free yoga lesson at Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery.
The third installment of this blog’s Going-Out Guide features a third round of this year’s winter wonderland. The latest update from the National Weather Service is that Saturday into Saturday evening, low pressure out of the Great Lakes will sweep southeast of New England during which time light to moderate snow will spread across the region.
Saturday night into Sunday, low pressure will strengthen quickly into the Gulf of Maine the proximity of which will present the potential for blizzard conditions across east/southeast-coastal New England with snowfall amounts in excess of a foot along with strong to damaging winds possibly up to hurricane force. Combination of increasing winds and the Sunday morning high tide presents the threat of minor to moderate coastal flooding.
Possible hazards associated with this storm include; poor travel conditions, power outages, strong wind gusts, extreme cold, minor to moderate coastal flooding, and beach erosion.
I’ll keep you updated throughout the weekend on my Twitter and Facebook pages about any changes to the weather forecast.
Tonight, you can experience a special screening of Casablanca at the legendary Brattle Theatre or listen to the unique and original voice of Jeffrey Gaines at Passim. Click here to buy tickets for Casablanca and here to learn more about Jeffrey Gaines’ show.
On Saturday, you can to step into a film time machine and enjoy Seven Chances with Jeff Rapsis on the Piano at the Aeronaut Brewing Company in Somerville. Please click here for more info.
Finally, tomorrow marks the beginning of the twentieth annual Bugs Bunny Festival at the Brattle. This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Brian Murphy, who passed away last week. Brian was a good friend and a dedicated public servant. Speaking with his family and friends over the last week, it is Brian’s sense of humor that lasts in people’s memories. Dedicating this year’s bugs bunny festival in his honor is another fitting testament to how Brian impacted our lives. His presence and leadership will be missed. Please click here for more info about this event.
The beginning of this week was once again swallowed up by adverse weather conditions so this edition of the Going-Out Guide will only cover weekend events. More snow is expected, but hopefully it won’t prevent you from attending some of the great events our community has to offer.
You can kick-off the weekend with some early music from The Newberry Consort. The Chicago-based ensemble will perform at the First Church in Cambridge at 8 pm tonight and, according to the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF), the performance features “selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria with singers from Boston’s own Exsultemus.” Click here to learn more or to purchase tickets.
If you’re interested in more contemporary music, you can enjoy a free night of Americana, folk, and pop at the Center for Arts at the Armory. Local singer-songwriter, Andy Newton, will perform tunes from his debut record, A Banner Day, tonight from 9 pm to 10 pm. The Armory offers more free music on Saturday morning from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm with a wide repertoire of jazz, great American Songbook, and more by Rick Schilling (piano) and Rick Silberg (vocals).
You can round off your weekend with some educational down time at the Peabody Museum where The Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons Across Cultures exhibit “presents the varied beauty and craftsmanship of war objects drawn from cultures around the world,” and offers more than 150 examples of weapons that are also works of art. Click here for more info or for a virtual tour of the exhibition.
© The Peabody Museum
L-R: Executioners knife; iron and antelope horn shield, Asia; painted wood shield, Papua New Guinea; Zulu cowhide shield; Masai shield
Somerville and Cambridge are hotspots for various cultural activities, and going forward I’ll be posting a weekly guide to local events. As we return to normalcy after the blizzard, there will be plenty to do in and around Somerville and Cambridge for the rest of week.
Rain and snow showers are forecast for Friday so why not spend an evening at the Armory in Somerville searching for Cleopatra’s crown? The Search for Cleopatra’s Crown is an evening of short movies and animations about history by Mick Cusimano. It’s free and open to the public this Friday from 8pm to 9:30pm at the Center for Arts at the Armory on 191 Highland Avenue.
© Courtesy of Center for Arts at the Armory
If you’re musically inclined, an all-star lineup of artists will keep the music and spirit of Pete Seeger alive on Friday evening at the Cambridge Forum in a Sing-Out Tribute to the iconic singer who passed away last year. Tickets are $20 if you buy them in advance and $25 at the door.
Inclement weather is forecast for Saturday as well, but you’ll probably spend most of this day preparing for the big game on Sunday so why not visit the Somerville Winter Farmers’ Market for your Super Bowl Party food? That’s right, the Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville is hosting a Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays, from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM, December through March. This weekly market offers a variety of locally grown and regionally produced agricultural products, features rotating guest vendors each week, as well as live music and delicious treats in two café areas.
The Somerville Winter Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT cards, and doubles SNAP purchases dollar for dollar up to $10 – allowing SNAP recipients double their spending power.
© Courtesy of www.somwintermarket.org
Finally, on Sunday, Go Pats!