Updated June 12 at 3:59 p.m.

I don’t think there is a consensus on when summer begins. Some take the safe answer and hold sometime around June 21 as the official start. I used to be one of those people and may secretly still hold some reverence for the solstice in the recesses of the most nostalgic corners of my soul. But as we grow, learn and just talk to people, you learn about other rituals that mark the turning of the seasons. Stuff that might not be unique to the month of June — it’s not the first warm month of the year (hello, May) — but is perfectly and arbitrarily the marker of a new brand of fun. Could be that it’s the first lobster roll of the year (or crab roll, if you’re fond of the superior crustacean). The sailors among us may slide into the river. Perhaps you slip into a pair of shorts for the first time all year. Could be the first hot dog off the grill.

Let’s lean into our individualized summer starts and use these goings-on as inspiration for a new one. Maybe summer doesn’t begin until a certain slate of public outdoor concerts. Could be a film programming series that invites you into the cool of a theatre to escape the sun. Or, just maybe, it’s not summer until Donna Summer says so. Yeah, let’s go with that this year.

Looking for ways to celebrate Pride Month? Check out our big list of LGBTQ+ events in Boston and beyond.

Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago
On view through Sept. 4
ICA Watershed
25 Harbor Shore Dr., East Boston
General Admission $20 | Youth 18 and under free | Students: $15 |Seniors (60+) $17 | Admission is free for all during ICA free Thursday nights, 5 to 9 p.m.

This exhibition by the Salvadoran artist Guadalupe Maravilla, includes his largest sculpture yet: “Mariposa Relámpago” (Lightning Butterfly). It’s part of a larger series called “Disease Thrower," which he conceptualized when he was being treated for stage three colon cancer. His works are rooted in his personal and cultural history — the eight-year-old Maravilla left El Salvador during the civil war, and made a solo journey to the United States. Sound is also a major component of these works — metal gongs adorn the space, nodding to Maravilla’s embrace of sound as a healing force.

This is a photograph of a large sculpture. The structure is mostly made out of metal. It looks like a combination of a bus and a locomotive. sitting at the front of the structure, as if he were in the driver's seat, is the artist who made it.
Artist Guadalupe Maravilla with one of his installations, "Mariposa Relámpago,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Watershed
Mel Taing ICA

Beaconsfield Terraces Walking Tour
Sunday, June 4, 10 a.m.
Star Market, 1717 Beacon St., Brookline

We live in a time where new residential complexes are defined by clean lines and an abundance of rectangles. It wasn’t always this way, of course — the Beaconsfield Terraces are a testament to the elite housing situations of yore. This summer, familiarize yourself with the architecture beyond the observation of “that looks nice.” Brookline Historical Society president, Ken Liss, leads a one-hour walking tour of the Terraces, describing the history of the residential buildings that remain and the luxury amenities now lost.

This is a photograph of  residences in Brookline, Massachusetts. They were built in  1889 out of yellow brick and stone. They resemble a Chateau, with steeply pitched  roofs and decorative gabled wall dormers.
Tappan Street in the Beaconsfield Terraces Historic District in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Magicpiano Wikimedia Commons

John Casey's Bar Wars

Tuesday, June 6, 9 p.m. -1 a.m.
Midway Cafe
3496 Washington St., Jamaica Plain

Being for the benefit of the 11th Jamaica Plain Music Festival, a battle of the bands at Midway Cafe, featuring the rocking ensembles of the neighborhood’s bartenders. Proceeds support the festival, but there are competitive stakes: the winner plays the festival in September. Representing establishments include Eugene O'Neills, Green Street Station, Vee Vee's, JP American Legion Post, Bella Luna, Galway House, Brendan Behan Pub, the Milky Way, Midway Cafe, and the Jeannie Johnston Grill.

Pipes on the Plaza
Tuesday, June 13, 12:15 p.m.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
250 Massachusetts Ave., Boston

There are few, if any, instruments that can match the timbre and range of the organ. This is an entirely subjective statement, though I know it to be true: what else can so effectively invoke rage, sagacity, reverence, turbulence and warmth? If you don’t believe me, hear it for yourself. Manuel Piazza, Trinity Church interim music director, will take to the pedal and keys of a 13,000 pipe organ, to program a concert of organ-work by Karg-Elert, Schumann Dupré, Duruflé and Elgar.

Passim Summer Series: The Folk Collective:

Almira Ara
Wednesday June 14, 12 p.m.
Kendall Square

Maxfield Anderson
Tuesday, June 27 1 p.m.
Harvard Farmers' Market

Passim launched the Folk Collective earlier in the spring, with the straightforward objective of bringing together musicians and artists to engage with and question the identity of folk music in front of a live audience. These Folk Collective concerts expand beyond the Cambridge club, with the June concerts taking place in Kendall Square and the Harvard Farmers Market.

“Coming Together" with Frederick Law Olmsted
Thursday, June 15 , 7-9 p.m.
Charlotte and William Bloomberg Medford Public Library
111 High St., Medford, MA

When we talk about history, it’s easy to conflate identity (political, national, community) with place — the literal ground on which we tread. The ghost of Frederick Law Olmsted will have nothing to do with that, and could make a compelling case that he made the city of Boston just as much as any Founding Father a century before. Trek up to Medford, and you can learn about his legacy, ambitions and impact on public space and urban planning, with Isabel Schulman and staff of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

Back Bay Fens Bridge.jpg
Back Bay Fens Bridge, along the Emerald Necklace part
Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Donna Summer Disco Party 2023

Friday, June 16
6-9 p.m.
Boston City Hall

Summer is back. Pull up to City Hall for a roller disco celebrating the Queen herself, featuring DJ Vince 1 spinning three hours of jams. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t dance. Do your homework before the party and watch thenew HBO documentary on the icon.

Two men dance  low to the ground.
Two man face each other in a dance-off at Boston’s annual Donna Summer Disco Party in Copley Square on June 16, 2022.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Samurai Summer III

Begins June 20
Various Times
Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline
Adult $15.50 | Student $12.50 | Seniors and Children $13.50

Samurai Summer — a programming festival of samurai flicks and movies that draw inspiration from that long tradition — is returning to the Coolidge Corner Theater, in a co-presentation by the Japan Society of Boston. On deck for the third edition are a quartet of films including "Sanjuro" and "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi."

Martian Radio Theatre

Friday, June 23, 6-8 p.m.
Coffee and Cotton at Mill No. 5
250 Jackson St., Lowell

I firmly believe that a well-curated variety show is one of the last realms of truly unexpected entertainment, unless you are intimately familiar with every single act. Last Month, Martian Radio Theatre stepped into Coffee and Cotton in Lowell’s Mill No. 5, for a variety show, and they’ll be returning in June, officially making this a monthly thing. The Alienators improv group will kick things off, followed by spoken word, poetry, and monologue from the LGBTQ+ community. The show is still looking for more participants — if you’re looking for a story to share, let them know at martianradiotheatre@gmail.com.

Correction: A previous version of this article said the Martian Radio Theater Variety Show would take place on June 30. This month, it will take place on June 23.