June 2014, South Boston Waterfront, ICA


reflection in jim hodges'  movements  at the ica   (sonya kovacic)

reflection in jim hodges' movements at the ica  (sonya kovacic)

One of the city's most famous self-portraits is a 380-year-old Dutch etching – the size of a postage stamp – that's been missing for almost 25 years:

On March 18, 1990, two men disguised as Boston police officers pulled off one of the largest art heists in world history. They took thirteen pieces of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, valued at approximately $500 million. The stolen works included paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Manet; drawings by Degas; a Chinese vase; a French finial (the ornament that tops a flagpole); and a tiny, etched self-portrait by Rembrandt – sized at 2" x 1.75".

Curiously, the Rembrandt etching had been taken from the museum once before. It was stolen in 1970 — in the Gardner's only other major theft in its history. The portrait was returned and reinstalled a few months later, after being discovered on a New York City subway.

Currently, all thirteen works of art are still at large. The FBI is still working on the case, however, and announced just last year that they've identified the criminals involved.

The pop/soul band Lake Street Dive met ten years ago at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music, and went viral in 2012 with a live performance on a Brighton sidewalk.

Their 2014 tour has already sold out, thanks to recent appearances on Letterman, Ellen, and the Colbert Report. Hear their new album's title track: Bad Self Portraits.

May 2014, South Boston Waterfront, ICA


dancing on the deck at ICA first fridays  (sonya kovacic)

dancing on the deck at ICA first fridays (sonya kovacic)

Although the unlucky origins of "Friday the Thirteenth" are historically unclear, one historian suggests that the superstition became widespread after a Boston millionaire wrote and published a novel in the early 20th century. The man was Thomas W. Lawson, and he was well-known in Boston as a stockbroker, copper magnate, businessman, and even U.S. Senate candidate. In 1907, he published Friday, the Thirteenth, which tells the story of a stockbroker who uses the day to create a stock market crash. The story was a precautionary tale about stock market manipulation, but it's also one of the earliest instances of the day being considered unlucky.

The story doesn't end there. Lawson was known for several other ventures, including his namesake: the giant seven-masted schooner, named, appropriately, the Thomas W. Lawson. The ship was the largest pure sailing vessel ever built, but ultimately crashed and wrecked in a storm. The date? It was the night of December 13, 1907 (a Friday).

Not unlucky: over sixty Boston-area museums and cultural venues will open their doors for free this summer in a series of "Free Fun Fridays."