Two Jamaica Plain Authors Named 2023 Massachusetts Book Awards Must Reads

Two Jamaica Plain authors books made the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) Must Read titles in the 23rd Annual Massachusetts Book Awards program.  

The titles represent achievements in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature by Massachusetts writers and illustrators during 2022.  The Must Read nonfiction picks include By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners (W.W. Norton) by Jamaica Plain's Margaret A. Burnham. Burnham's books is a “paradigm-shifting investigation” of little-known violence in the South in the 20th century and the legal establishment that sustained it. The Must Read poetry picks includes American Treasure by Jamaica Plain's Jill McDonough.


Brown’s ‘Motherhood is Perennial’ Quilt Exhibit at Jamaica Plain Branch Library

Quilter Christine Brown's "Motherhood is Perennial" show is now on exhibit at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. The show opened May 4 and will be on display through June 28, and features textile works of Brown's. A multidisciplinary artist and educator, Brown credits her sewing skills to the local 4H club, an experience which led to her commitment to teaching sewing to the next generation of artists through lessons and workshops, according to a press release. Her exhibit explores the quilt as an object that provides warmth and comfort, similar to the ways a mother does. Saved and mended through generations, quilts transform as they age, and gain personality through their owners.


Jamaica Plain’s Chuck Collins on New Book ‘Altar to an Erupting Sun’

Jamaica Plain's Chuck Collins new book Altar to an Erupting Sun is partially set in JP and includes several local things including the Wake Up The Earth Festival, Paul Gore Street, Doyle's, and more. Collins answered questions about his newest book, which was released on May 9. What is your new book Altar to an Erupting Sun about? 
Collins: Altar is the story of a charismatic woman named Rae Kelliher who is a veteran human rights and environmental activist who later in her life becomes a pioneer in the death with dignity movement. Her partner Reggie, who grew up in Dorchester, calls her a “weaver of social change” and an “instant party in a box.” 
The future fiction part of the story chronicles how Rae faces climate disruption. Instead of a gloomy Mad Max apocalypse vision, Altar envisions how humanity begins to turn the corner toward survivability in what environmentalists call “the critical decade” ahead.  The story also has elements of “coming of age” as it looks back several decades at the people and movements that shape Rae’s identity and actions. 
Why did you want to write this book? 
Collins: I had this story and character knocking on my inner door.


Photos: Fairy House Building Workshop at Franklin Park

Children created their own personalized, eco-friendly homes for the woodland fairies of Franklin Park while wearing their favorite fairy and elf costumes. It was a beautiful morning at the annual Fairy House Building Workshop at Franklin Park's Schoolmaster Hill hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Mayor's Mural Crew on April 20. (Photos by Jon Seamans for Boston Parks and Recreation) 


Wake Up the Earth Festival on May 6: Parades, Musical Performances, Vendors, and More

While the 45th annual Wake Up the Earth Festival will be a lot of fun this weekend, it's also important to recognize the reason the festival was created, and how it relates to modern times. This year's festival is from noon to 5 pm on the Southwest Corridor by the Stonybrook MBTA Station. The original festival was created by community activists who worked together to defeat a proposal to put a highway through the neighborhood. This year's organizers would like to "move more deeply into awareness of climate resiliency and how climate change connects to low income and affordable housing access, and the racial inequities in Boston that make climate change a vitally important social justice and racial justice issue." As organizers explore how they can make an impact, they're encouraging the community to make a pledge to action.


Help Fundraiser to Create New South Street Mural

A community fundraiser to create a mural on South Street by the basketball/pickleball/tennis courts is in full swing -- and JP Centre/South Main Streets has said it will match any online donation.  

The mural will be made on the wall outside Peru Travel. Gabrielle Hahn, the owner of nearby business Said & Done tattoo, created the fundraiser to pay local artist Massiel Grullón who is creating the mural. The goal is to fundraise $4,500 to cover paying the artist and supplies. Grullón was born in Boston, is an alum of the Boston Arts Academy, earned a bachelors degree in painting and graphic design at Montserrat College of Art in 2014, and teaches painting at Artists for Humanity in South Boston.


JP’s Rehearsal for Life Musical ‘Banned in Boston: Funderdome’ with Gov. Healey and More

Governor Maura Healey is among the cast members for Jamaica Plain based nonprofit Rehearsal for Life's new live Banned in Boston musical. The musical Banned in Boston: Funderdome will be performed live at Roadrunner Boston on April 27, and is once again be written and scored by award-winning creative Faith Soloway, Artistic Director of Rehearsal for Life and co-writer of Amazon’s award-winning show Transparent. Rehearsal for life is a non-profit leader in the Boston area’s creative youth development sector. The cast is huge for this year's musical-esque romp including more than two dozen Boston-area politicians, celebrities, philanthropists, and business leaders, performing on-stage and on-screen, fighting it out in an exaggerated, Battle of the Network Stars-style competition between fictional organizations trying to raise money in challenging times. The current cast list includes: Governor Maura Healey; Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council; Jared Bowen, Arts Editor & Host, WGBH’s Open Studio; Jim Braude, Co-host, WGBH Boston Public Radio; Yolanda Coentro, President & CEO, Institute for Nonprofit Practice; Carolyn Cole, Program Officer, Massachusetts Cultural Council; Joanne Chang, Owner, Flour, Myers & Chang; Cheryl Cronin, CEO, Boston Public Market; Margery Eagan, Co-host, WGBH Boston Public Radio; Tiffani Faison, Chef, Restaurateur, rising star on Food Network; Sam Kennedy, President & CEO, Boston Red Sox; Makeeba McCreary, Ed.D., President, The New Commonwealth for Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund; Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, President & CEO, Carequest Institute for Oral Health; M. Lee Pelton, President & CEO, The Boston Foundation; Ken Reid, Comedian, TV Guidance Counselor podcast

In addition, a number of local chefs from participating restaurants will serve delicious meal to attendees including

Dan Bazzinotti, Pescador/Blue Ribbon Restaurants
Brad Brown, Blue Frog Bakery
Carl Dooley, Mooncusser
Lambert Givens, Hunter’s
Andrew Marconi, The Catered Affair
Steven Peljovich, Michael’s Deli
Cory Seeker, Lolita/COJE Group
Arlin Smith, Eventide
Stephen Sherman, Scarlet Oak Tavern/Webber Group
JC Tetreault, TrilliumBrewing
Will & Dave Willis, Bully Boy Distillers
Chris & Pam Willis, Pammy’s
Jen & Josh Ziskin, La Morra, Heritage & Punch Bowl

All proceeds benefit Rehearsal for Life’s creative youth development programs: Urban Improv, a no-cost program in its 30th year, serving 1,400+ Boston Public School students grades 4–12 every year; Youth Unscripted, a stipended after school community building and leadership program serving 25 teens from across Boston, and founding program Freelance Players, an after school theater program serving 200 youth ages 8-16 in Boston and surrounding suburbs.


Footlight Club’s ‘A Man of No Importance’ is Important to Watch This Weekend

At a time when some people believe LGBTQIA+ people are more dangerous than guns, or trans folk are somehow less than others, it's important that we have shows like the Footlight Club's A Man of No Importance.  

The Footlight Club’s production brings amateur theater production to life with a minimal set, period-appropriate costumes, a big heart and lots of talented vocalists. Winner of the 2003 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and created by Terence McNally, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty, the production serves as a strong reminder that love is what matters. All three previously won Tony Awards for Ragtime. The musical is based on a movie of the same name starring Albert Finney in 1994. The musical is about Alfie Byrne, a bus driver in 1964 Dublin whose heart holds secrets that he can't share with anyone but his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde.


Wenham Street Cinema Releases 2023 Season Schedule

The Wenham Street Cinema released their 2023 season schedule, which includes visits from three Boston city councilors. 

District 6 City Councilor Kendra Lara, City Councilor At-Large Ruthzee Louijeune, and City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia

All events, dates, and times are subject to change. Cinema goers as always encouraged to bring food or drink to share, as well as your own chair. 

The Wenham Street Cinema is inside Matt Shuman's garage at 23 Wenham St., and the cinema's showings include TV shows, movies, political debates, live concert series, and more. The cinema is kicking off its season with a Boston Marathon watch party on Monday, April 17 at 9 am.  

All events, dates, and times are subject to change. For updated information please check Instagram (@WenhamStreetCinema) or sign up for the mailing list by emailing 

The following was provided by the Wenham Street Cinema:

Wenham Street Cinema 2023 Season Schedule 

Date & Time
Helpful Details 
Speaker before 

the movie* 

Boston Marathon Watch Party
Monday, 4/17

 9 am to 10:45 
This is a breakfast potluck and has a hard stop at 10:45 am so we can bike over to the Marathon. Please bring food or drink to share if you are able. 

Kids’ Screening: Raya and the Last Dragon 
Early May

Doors at 5:30, movie at 6:00
This event usually becomes a party for adults on the sidewalk as kids enjoy the movie.