Boston's Best Arts and Entertainment 2009

What a difference 100 years makes  
By BOSTON PHOENIX STAFF  |  April 16, 2009
Photo by Derek Koyoumjian

We are a culture-rich city — a veritable cauldron of talent and fun, and have been so since Anne Bradstreet inscribed the gates of Harvard. In Boston, the arts never stand still. True, if some rag-tag weekly had conducted a Best Readers’ Poll a century ago, the MFA might have won for Best Museum, as it did in the Phoenix’s 2009 contest. And its rivals would certainly have included the then-six-year-old Gardner (which, though it wasn’t a museum then, placed second this year). But don’t get the wrong idea. While Bostonians sometimes worship the past, we don’t live in it.

Many things we now accept as institutions would not have been 1909 contenders at all — the Boston Ballet, for example, and certainly Babes in Boinkland, the burlesque troupe that beat out the local corps de for this year’s Best Dance Performers honor, was a long time coming. (Although there’s a good chance the house chorines from the Old Howard would at least have been included on the Progressive Era ballot.) We know they had pool halls, but did bars host karaoke or trivia nights 100 years ago?

High-, low-, and middle-brow, Boston has it all — from Titian retrospectives to midnight Sound of Music sing-alongs. Now, as then, there’s simply no excuse for staying home.

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  Topics: Dance , Boston, Boston, Harvard University,  More more >
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