J Squared Spring You Into Spring

By Jared Bowen

Let’s face it. It is hard to go out in winter. You have to get the scarf...and the hat...and the gloves...and the coat. Then you have dig your car out or negotiate a labyrinth of semi-shoveled walkways on your way to the T. And of course your feet get wet. Then freezing cold. Most nights, it is far easier to stay cooped up under a few blankets, order some Chinese food and catch up on the 4th season of Dexter on DVD.  But hey, people! The snow is gone. The days are getting longer. The birds are chirping. Winter is actually over. And while the crocuses and tulips are just starting to blossom, the city is already in full bloom, with new restaurants, museums exhibitions, concerts, and special events waiting for you. Our resident insiders J squared—WGBH‘s Jared Bowen and Jan Saragoni—are ready to spring you from your house and into spring with some not-to-be missed events around town.
Jan's Picks

•    Fourth Annual Art & Design of the 21st Century: The Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts, April 7–10
•    Big Apple Circus: City Hall Plaza, through May 15
•    Tower of Power: Scullers Jazz Club, April 19
•    Neil Young: Providence Performing Arts Center, April 22
•    Harry Connick Jr.: Colonial Theater, April 26

Flower Power
•    Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum's new “April in the Courtyard” horticultural display. Gorgeous displays of spring bulbs and flowering plants, miniature citrus trees.  Sadly, no orange nasturtiums this year – the growing conditions were not favorable.
•    Ricky’s Flower Market, Union Square, Somerville. Located in a former Citgo Station, indoor and outdoor flower market. Terrific!

Time To Dine
•    5 Napkin Burger, Huntington Ave. Boston. (Opened last week at the Prudential) Reasonably priced – $7.95 to $12.95. And they also serve sushi!
•    Tico, 222 Berkeley Street, Michael Shlow’s new place. Flavors of Spain, Mexico & South America

Let's Go To The Movies
•    “The Leopard” at Coolidge Corner Theater: Luchino Visconti beautifully restored 1963 epic based on the Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel. Burt Lanchester (Prince of Salina), and a “smoldering” Claudia Cardinale.  April 11.
Jared's Picks

•    Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass at the Museum of Fine Arts April 10th through August 7th. 40 years of the prolific glass artists large-scale work is installed at the museum. It’s colorful, magical and truly stunning.

Midsummer Nights In Early Spring
Four of the city’s most esteemed performing arts organizations are all offering programs related to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets are discounted for patrons seeing more than one event.
•    Boston Ballet presents George Balanchine’s Midsummer ballet at the Opera House April 7-17th.
•    Boston Lyric Opera presents Benjamin Britten’s Midsummer opera sung in English
•    Arts Emerson presents Susurrus based on Britten’s music. Part radio-play, part sonic art and part stroll in the park (Boston’s Public Garden) Starts May 20th. Billed as “a play without actors and a stage...a sensual reinterpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a contemporary edge.”
•    A.R.T. ‘s Midsummer-inspired The Donkey Show plays every Saturday night at 8 and 10:30.

Celebrity Style
•    My fellow Emerson College alum/Access Hollywood correspondent/NBC news contributor Maria Menounos appears in Boston April 15 & 16th with her new book “The Everygirl’s Guide to Life.” She has a book-signing at Emerson’s Barnes and Noble store on Friday afternoon and then offers celebrity style tips at a CambridgeSide Galleria fashion show. Also appearing are 7News Anchor Frances Rivera and Stylist Lydia Santangelo. Proceeds from tickets purchased to a VIP Hollywood Glam Bash from 5-6 benefit Maria’s charity Take Action Hollywood!

Step Up!
•    Step Up! Pride and Passion 2011 is A benefit for Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The event is a Gourmet Taste Around featuring Top Chef Masters including Jody Adams of Rialto. Also represented are Leana, Upstairs on the Square, Deauxave, Stella, Grill 23, Legal Seafoods, Bistro du Midi and Four Seasons Boston. Also appearing are The Beelzebubs (who appear on “Glee” as the voices of the Dalton Academy Warblers). Philanthropic dynamo Joan Parker co-chairs.

Good Eats
•    Bondir: Broadway in Cambridge. Billed as “a cozy, farm-house style restaurant with 28 seats and a small fireplace salon.” Superb hospitality, excellent sommelier and perfect food. All vegetables come from no more than 40-minutes away.
•    The Haven: Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain. A charming Scottish restaurant with great food, terrific Scottish ales (try The 70 Shilling special) and a ridiculously fun atmosphere. All this week the restaurant celebrates Boston Tartan Week. Scottish owner Jason Waddleton was in a band before opening this must-visit JP hotspot. Try the Scotch Deviled Egg, Sassitch and Mash (House made roasted garlic sausage, herbed Yukon mash, braised kale, warm bacon vinegrette) and the toffee bread pudding.

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