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12th Annual Winter Carnival in Harvard Square

January 16 - March 31


January 16
March 31
Event Category:


Harvard Square Business Association


Harvard Square
Two Brattle Square, Mezzanine
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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The Harvard Square Business Association welcomes you to attend Winter Carnival 2020!  The temperatures may be dropping but we are gearing up for some of the most highly anticipated events of the year, including the Taste of Chocolate Festival, “Some Like it Hot” Chili Cook-off and Chinese New Year.  In addition to these signature events, there are activities and events happening in our restaurants, stores and cultural institutions.


17th Annual BCMFest – Boston Celtic Music Festival at Passim
January 16th – 19th

The 17th annual Boston Celtic Music Festival, known as BCMFest, returns to Harvard Square January 16-19, 2020. Presented by Passim, the 2020 festival will showcase Greater Boston’s deep tradition of music, song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic communities.


Thursday, January 16th, 7pm-9pm. $25 / Members $22

First Round @ Club Passim: A Cape Breton Trip Through Time; The Ivy Leaf; and the Hanneke Cassel Trio feat. Keith Murphy & Jenna Moynihan

Thursday, January 16th, 10pm-midnight.  $10 / Members $5 (or $5 add-on if you come to early show)

Festival Club @ Club Passim: Sarah Collins & Eamon Sefton; Corner House; and Wilma

Friday, January 17th, 7pm-9pm.  $25 / Members $22

Roots & Branches @ Club Passim: Yaniv Yacoby & Eric Boodman; Christine Hedden, Rebecca McGowan, & Lindsay Straw; and Louise Bichan

Friday, January 17th, 7:30pm-11pm. $20

Urban Ceilidh @ The Atrium: The Treaty Trio w/ dancer caller Hannah DeRusha; A Cape Breton Trip Through Time w/ dance caller Abbie MacQuarrie; and Laura Cortese & Friends w/ dance caller Hanneke Cassel

Friday, January 17th, 10pm-midnight.  $10 / Members $5 (or $5 add-on if you come to early show or Urban Ceilidh)

Festival Club @ Club Passim: Calico; McKinley James & Lily Honigberg; and Scottish Fish

Saturday, January 18th, 10am-5:30pm.  $25 (includes both venues)

Dayfest @ Club Passim & The Sinclair

Saturday, January 18th, 4pm-6pm. Free admission

Sessions @ Harvard Smith Center: Scottish Session led by Barbara McOwen; Irish Session led by Dan Accardi & Lindsay Straw

Saturday, January 18th, 7pm-10pm.  $25

Nightcap Finale Concert @ The Sinclair: The Treaty Trio; Kevin Doyle & Friends; Laura Cortese & Friends; and Wendy MacIsaac & Mary Jane Lamond

Sunday, January 19th, 10am-2pm. Free admission

BCMFest Brunch @ Club Passim: live music brunch featuring Eamon Sefton & friends

Sunday, January 19th, 11am-1pm. $45

Workshop @ the Passim School of Music: Togaibh Fonn! Worksongs in the Cape Breton Scottish Gaelic Traditions with Mary Jane Lamond

Workshop @ the Passim School of Music: Putting Cape Breton Sets Together with Wendy MacIsaac

Passim, 47 Palmer Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/passim/, (617) 492-5300

Broken Beauty presented by the Cambridge Art Association
Through February 1st

Broken Beauty is a juried exhibit of Cambridge Art Association Member work, juried by Cathleen Daley (Co-Founder/Director of Room 83 Spring). As a companion to Broken Beauty, Cathleen has also curated Soft Shoulder, an exhibit featuring 10 artists at CAA’s Kathryn Schultz Gallery.

Broken Beauty explores reverence for the flawed and imperfect — be it simply pointing to and honoring, or an act of rescue, restoration and mending whole. From remnants and rubble, and futility to utility, art selected for this show will exalt the everyday, the ordinary, and the ephemeral and through artistic intervention express and question value, viability, principal, and perception. Points of view can extend from humor to homage. Showing at University Place Gallery, 124 Mt. Auburn Street.

Cambridge Art Association, 25 Lowell Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/cambridge-art-association/, (617) 876-0246

A Celebration of David Ferry at Grolier Poetry Book Shop
January 17th

Please join us as we celebrate our dear friend David Ferry, long time friend of Ifeanyi Menkiti and of the Grolier Poetry Bookshop.  Menkiti published Ellery Street, a book of poems by David Ferry in 2015 and reprinted in 2019. We are excited to welcome George Kalogeris who will introduce David Ferry.

Grolier Poetry Bookshop, 6 Plympton Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/grolier-poetry-bookshop/, (617) 547-4648

Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness at the Cooper Gallery
Through June 2020

In more than 80 self-portraits, celebrated visual activist Zanele Muholi (South African, b. 1972), uses their body as a canvas to confront the deeply personal politics of race and representation in the visual archive. In Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates from isiZulu to ‘Hail The Dark Lioness’, Muholi playfully employs the conventions of classical painting, fashion photography, and the familiar tropes of ethnographic imagery to rearticulate contemporary identity politics. Each black and white self-portrait asks critical questions about social (in)justice, human rights, and contested representations of the Black body.

The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery Of African and African American Art, 102 Mt. Auburn Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/the-ethelbert-cooper-gallery-of-african-and-african-american-art/,  (617) 496-5777

Trash Night at The Brattle Theatre
January 21st

TRASH NIGHT is a monthly film series concerned with the also-ran of straight-to-VHS fare, with original video weirdness seeded throughout. This is one of the rare times at the Brattle when audience participation is not only encouraged, it’s required! Admission includes a 1″ pin, designed and hand-printed by Trash Night to coincide with the film. How many do you have???

The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/brattle-theatre/, (617) 876-6837

Sandra Piques Eddy Masterclass at Longy School of Music
January 21st

Sandra Piques Eddy, praised for her “dark, sensuous mezzo and charming stage presence” (Opera Magazine) begins this season by returning to Florentine Opera to sing and record the role of Mistress Revels in Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, then travels to the Metropolitan Opera to perform the role of Novice (and cover the role of Abbess) in Suor Angelica.  Sandra rings in the New Year in Japan at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center for a New Year’s Eve Concert of Timeless American Musicals.  Ms. Eddy is delighted to reprise the role of Carmen with Maestro Seiji Ozawa on tour in Japan in March.   On the concert platform, the artist joins Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society in performances of the Mozart Requiem.

Longy School of Music of Bard College, 27 Garden Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/longy-school-of-music-of-bard-college/, (617) 876-0956

Harvard Book Store Presents Steve Inskeep’s Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War in conversation with Juliette Kayyem at Brattle Theatre
January 22nd

Harvard Book Store welcomes STEVE INSKEEP—celebrated reporter and cohost of NPR’s Morning Edition and Up First—for a discussion of his latest book, Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War. He will be joined in conversation by author and national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, harvardsquare.com/venue/harvard-book-store/, (617) 661-1515

12th Annual Taste of Chocolate Weekend
January 24th – January 26th

Warm, dark, sweet and decadent!  Harvard Square’s finest restaurants and cafes will embark on a three-day chocolate extravaganza!  Our restaurants will feature chocolate desserts and cocktails while Harvard Square retailers will dazzle you with scrumptious chocolate specials and deals.  For you brave and hardy chocolate lovers, our famous tasty sampling of chocolate goodies from Harvard Square’s finest purveyors will be presented on Saturday, January 25th from 1pm – 2pm on Brattle Plaza (in front of Bluestone Lane – 27 Brattle Street) for all to enjoy.  Entertainment, chocolate and more!


12th Annual Chocolate Tasting Event
January 25th

Brattle Plaza (27 Brattle Street) from 1pm – 2pm will play host to an array of chocolate samples from restaurants and shops from across Harvard Square.  Make sure to come early!  This free event is extremely popular and attracts hundreds of sweet tooths!


Gloria:  A Life at the American Repertory Theater
January 24th – March 1st

History. Her story. Our story.

This new play about Gloria Steinem and the women she has partnered with in a decades-long fight for equality is brought to life by a dynamic ensemble of performers. Fifty years after Gloria began raising her voice and championing those of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. Gloria’s belief in talking circles as a catalyst for change offers us all a path forward. The first act is Gloria’s story; the second is our own.

American Repertory Theater, 64 Brattle Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/american-repertory-theater, (617) 547-8300

Tony Cokes: If UR Reading This It’s 2 Late: Vol. 2 Opening Reception at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
January 30th

Tony Cokes: If UR Reading This It’s 2 Late: Vol. 2 provides an opportunity to see a broad range of powerful artworks made by Cokes since the 1980s, alongside two newly commissioned films. Cokes’s video works are eviscerating critiques and affective art works, bringing together color theory, sound, music, and texts quoting a polyphony of voices such as Louis Althusser, Malcolm X, David Bowie, Public Enemy and Donald Trump. Meeting political and social commentary with cultural theory and a critique of capitalism, Cokes’s films starkly confront the social conditions, as well as the specific prejudices and threats encountered by black subjects. Recent works range across minimal techno, the Bush administration’s use of color to engender a perpetual culture of fear, and music used to torture detainees during the so-called “war on terror.”

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/carpenter-center-for-the-visual-arts/, (617) 496-5387

Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year:  Elizabeth Banks
January 31st

Every year, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals bestows the Man of the Year and Woman of the Year awards to performers who made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.  The Woman of the Year award dates back to 1951, with the first honoree, Gertrude Lawrence.  Since then, recipients have included the likes to Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Anne Hathaway.

The Woman of the Year festivities, presented by RELATED and Equinox/SoulCycle, will begin at 3:00pm on January 31st, 2020, when Ms. Banks will lead a parade through the streets of Cambridge. Following the parade, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals will host a celebratory roast for Ms. Banks at 4:00pm, after which she will be presented with her Pudding Pot at Farkas Hall, the Hasty Pudding’s historic home in Harvard Square since 1888. A press conference will follow the presentation at 4:30pm. Afterwards, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals will preview HPT 172: Mean Ghouls, our second-ever cast featuring both men and women.


12th Annual ‘Some Like It Hot’ Chili Cook-Off
February 1st

The Harvard Square Business Association welcomes everyone to our free ‘Some Like It Hot’ Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, February 1st from 1pm – 2:30pm.  Snow, rain or shine, Harvard Square’s finest chefs are cooking a batch of their favorite chili for all to sample.  The cook-off will take place on Brattle Plaza (in front of Brattle Florist – 31 Brattle Street) and is a fitting and spicy prelude to the Super Bowl!  You get to vote for your favorite!  Check back for more information.


Super Bowl 54
February 2nd

Find your spot to watch the big game!  Restaurant promotions coming soon!


Gallery Talk: Discovering Gauguin’s Hidden Landscape at Harvard Art Museums
February 5th

A routine examination in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies revealed a hidden landscape beneath Paul Gauguin’s painting Poèmes Barbares. Discover how conservators and scientists worked together to visualize Gauguin’s forgotten masterpiece.

Our galleries are full of stories—this series of drop-in talks gives visitors a chance to hear the best ones! The talks highlight new works on view, take a fresh look at old favorites, investigate artists’ materials and techniques, and reveal the latest discoveries by curators, conservators, fellows, visiting artists, technologists, and other contributors.

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/harvard-art-museums/, (617) 495-9400 


Hasty Pudding Man of the Year
February 7th

Every year, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals bestows the Man of the Year and Woman of the Year awards on performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.  The Man of the Year began in 1967 with Bob Hope and the subsequent recipients list reads like a who’s who of Hollywood leading men:  Sean Connery, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Robert Downey, Jr., and James Franco to name a few.


Lovin the Square Valentine’s Events
February 7th – 14th

This year’s Valentine’s events will feature fabulous food and drinks from Harvard Square’s restaurants, romantic and fun deals from our retailers and variety of intimate, cozy and entertaining things to do in our cultural icons.  More information coming soon.


I ♥ Science at Harvard Museum of Natural History
February 8th

Awaken your love of science with activities led by Harvard scientists, graduate students, and enthusiastic explorers. Meet scientists who investigate fossils, microbes, and carnivorous plants. Hear short talks on current research at Harvard. Explore fermenting microbes in action as they perform in a musical art installation! Bring your own collections to show to local shell and minerals clubs. This program has something for everyone and is appropriate for children and adults of all ages.

Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, https://www.harvardsquare.com/venue/harvard-museum-of-natural-history/, (617) 495-3045

Meet Mandeliene Smith, author of Rutting Season at the Harvard Coop
February 13th


In these lucid, sharply observant stories, Mandeliene Smith traces the lives of men and women in moments of crisis: a woman whose husband has just died, a social worker struggling to escape his own past, a girl caught in a standoff between her mother’s boyfriend and the police. Wise and insightful, Smith is “an uncommonly talented writer with a particularly sharp eye for the serrated edge of human nature” (Publishers Weekly).

Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, harvardsquare.com/venue/harvard-cooperative-society-the-coop/, (617) 499-2000

Migrating to Prison at the Cambridge Forum at First Parish (UU), 3 Church Street
February 19th

For much of America’s history, we simply did not lock people up for migrating here. Yet over the last thirty years, the federal and state governments have increasingly tapped their powers to incarcerate people accused of violating immigration laws. As a result, roughly 400,000 people a year now spend some time locked up pending civil or criminal immigration proceedings.

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández‘s new book takes a hard look at the immigration prison system’s origins, how it currently operates, and why. It tackles the outsized presence of private prisons and how those on the political right continue, disingenuously, to link immigration imprisonment with national security risks and threats to the rule of law.

Cambridge Forum, 3 Church Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/cambridge-forum/, (617) 495-2727

Kareem Lucas:  The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (Or Inegro) at OBERON
February 20th

The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (or iNEGRO) is a solo show that’s a raw self-reflection of a young Black man coming into himself, but still not yet himself. It is a nonstop verbal onslaught laced with heightened poetic language that takes the audience on a subversive journey of disillusionment, which culminates in a scathing implication of self, community, and culture. No one is safe. Nothing is sacred.

OBERON, 2 Arrow Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/oberon/, (617) 547-8300

Songs About Hope: Esperance & Amors in the 14th Century by Blue Heron
February 22nd

First Church in Cambridge, Congregational

11 Garden Street (next to the Sheraton Commander)

Music by Guillaume de Machaut, Jacob Senleches & others, including a complex of interrelated pieces connecting Machaut’s Remede de Fortune (c. 1340) to a handful of works in the hypnotic, late 14th-century style known as the Ars subtilior via the anonymous rondeau Esperance.

Pre-concert talk by Michael Cuthbert (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at 7:15 PM / Doors and box office open at 7:00 PM.

Blue Heron, harvardsquare.com/venue/blue-heron/, (617) 960-7956

Blacksmith House Poetry Series – Jason Tandon and Judith Baumel presented by Cambridge Center for Adult Education
February 24th

Jason Tandon reads from The Actual World, with Judith Baumel, whose new collection is Passeggiate.

Founded in 1973, the award-winning Blacksmith House Poetry Series brings established and emerging writers of poetry and fiction to Harvard Square. The series is sponsored by Cambridge Center for Adult Education and holds readings at the Blacksmith House, site of the village smithy and spreading chestnut tree of Longfellow’s 1839 poem “The Village Blacksmith.”

Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 56 Brattle Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/cambridge-center-for-adult-education/, (617) 547-6789

Dr. Seuss’ 116th Birthday Party
February 29th

You’re invited to the 166th Birthday of Dr. Seuss!  In Harvard Square, ‘from there to here, here to there, funny things are everywhere!’  Dr. Seuss Day is a holiday that celebrates the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel – otherwise know by the pen name by which he authored children’s books:  Dr. Seuss.  During the 1990s, the National Education Association advocated for a day to celebrate reading all over the United States.  More details coming soon!


Snack Cat at the Beat Brew Hall
February 29th

Snack Cat is a NYC based band that features some of the cities top young musicians. The group’s sound is a cross between soul, rock, jazz, blues and funk. Snack Cat has already played many of NYC’s top music venues including Rockwood Music Hall, Mercury Lounge, The Falcon, Bryant Park, Groove, C’mon Everybody, and The Knitting Factory. The band consistently plays Sofar Sounds shows around the city as well. Snack Cat’s members have played and recorded with some of the biggest names in music: Roberta Flack, John Mayer, The Zach Brown Band, Grace Potter, Ben Folds, John Patitucci, Jersey Boys, Greg Allman, etc. The Band recently released it’s debut EP with the internationally known record label Ropadope.

Beat Brew Hall, 13A Brattle Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/beat-brew-hall/, (617) 499-0001

Chinese New Year
March 1st

The Harvard Square Business Association to pleased to present the 14th Annual Chinese New Year celebration in Harvard Square.  The pageantry begins on Sunday, March 1st in Winthrop Park with the colorful and exciting lion dance.  Immediately following the dance, parade with us through Harvard Square as we march down Massachusetts Avenue and onwards to our final destination, The Hong Kong Restaurant, located at 1238 Massachusetts Avenue.

The Hong Kong, a venerable Harvard Square institution since 1954, opens its doors and welcomes the public for an afternoon of food, art and music.  The Hong Kong stands as a shining example of the diverse cultures and cuisine that can be found in Harvard Square. A complete schedule of activities coming soon.  Performances and arts and crafts are presented by the Chinese Cultural Connection, Inc.


Amira Piano Trio at New School of Music
March 1st

Nelli Jabotinsky, violin

Minghui Lin, cello

Aleksandra Lvin, piano

“The Bridges of Time” featuring works by Mendelssohn, Haydn, and Piazzolla.

New School of Music, 25 Lowell Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/new-school-of-music/, (617) 492-8105

Boston/Cambridge Winter Dine Out Weeks
March 1st – 6th; 8th – 13th

Dine Out Boston, formerly known as Restaurant Week Boston, is brought to you by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and American Express twice a year, providing locals and visitors an opportunity to sample area restaurants at special prices.  Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner.  Each participating restaurant selects one of the three price options and the Chef prepares a menu to delight.


Women’s History Month
March 1st – 31st

Across the US, the UK and Australia, the month of March is celebrated as Women’s History Month.  Each year, the Harvard Square Business Association commemorates Women’s History Month by proudly publishing a list of women business owners and directors, as well as political, civic, academic, cultural and non-profit leaders in the square and across our great city.  We celebrate the achievements of all women and particularly applaud the impact that our HSBA women assert in our community and beyond.  We acknowledge their dedication and professionalism and honor their contributions and success.


Nellie McKay at Regattabar
March 7th

Nellie McKay has released seven acclaimed albums, won a Theatre World Award for her Broadway portrayal of Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, co-created and starred in the award winning off-Broadway hit Old Hats, and has conceived and performed musical biographies of Barbara Graham, Rachel Carson, Joan Rivers, & Billy Tipton (named one of the Best Concerts of the Year by The New York Times).

Nellie is a featured performer and composer in Ethan Coen’s, A Play Is a Poem, running now through Oct 13 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. A recipient of PETA’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of her dedication to animal rights, Nellie is an annoyingly vocal critic of endless war, capitalism, and the two-party system that sustains it.

Regattabar, 1 Bennett Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/regattabar-2/, (617) 661-5000

Mondo Cozmo at The Sinclair
March 14th

Everything changed for Mondo Cozmo in 2016. Born in Philadelphia and now based in East Los Angeles, he quit his two landscaping jobs, raised a big middle finger to all opposition, and began releasing songs that could’ve been cut under the influence of a “Champagne Supernova” inside a Seattle warehouse if this were the nineties…but it’s not. A disciple of Beck, Eddie Vedder, and Keith Richards, the song “Shine” introduced this tattooed underground pop outlier to audiences at large.

The Sinclair, 52 Church Street, harvardsquare.com/venue/the-sinclair/, (617) 547-5200

Harvard Go Bragh St. Patrick’s Day Events
March 14th – 17th

Rejoice in all things Irish for St. Patrick’s Day!  Special in-store and restaurant promotions and cultural activities inside our arts member organizations will be announced soon.


Eliane Elais at Scullers Jazz Club
March 27th and 28th

GRAMMY®-winning pianist/singer/songwriter Eliane Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots and sensuous, alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills.

Scullers Jazz Club, 400 Soldiers Field Road, harvardsquare.com/venue/scullers-jazz-club-at-the-doubletree-suites-by-hilton-hotel-boston/, (617) 562-4111