What’s hot after 5
Toad gets hoppin’; Stray Bullets; Sly Fox at the Shubert; Elvis lives; Mingus Big Band

2/20: Chris Rock at the Orpheum

2/22: Indie Porn Screenings at the Milky Way

2/25: 'An Artful Party' at Steven King Showroom

2/28: Charles Mingus Big Band plays at Regattabar


Christian McNeill is better known to local rock scenesters as the emotive frontman of a big little band called Hybrasil (even though there’s not a hint of Brazil in any of its music). He should consider himself the luckiest singer/songwriter in town this month; not only did he score one of the coveted Tuesday-night residency gigs at Toad (1920 Mass Ave, Cambridge), that cozy little bar in Porter Square, but he’s got a rotating cast of some of the most seasoned veteran players backing him for each of the four shows. Tonight’s cast of musical characters is particularly strong: mandolinist extraordinaire Jimmy Ryan, blues-master guitarist Duke Levine, and in-demand drummer Billy Beard top off a cast of players that also includes Andrew Mazzone, Kevin Barry, and Jeremy Dryden. The showcase starts at 10, and it’s free to get in; call (617) 497-4950 for more information.


There are movie lovers and then there are film lovers. In this age of DVD and instant Internet (dis)information, we can lose touch with film, the place where it all began. We might even lose a $5 bet over it. For a gentle and intellectual reminder, check this evening’s silver-screen offerings at the Zeitgeist Gallery (1353 Cambridge Street, Cambridge). Albert Steg presents Zampano’s Playhouse Vintage Film Screenings, all in "glorious 8 and 16mm." Featured flicks will include random and whimsical cartoons, educational films, TV shows, and industry films that only the 20th century could produce, all for your viewing enjoyment. Show starts at 8; the minimal $6 donation is the cost of your culturally relevant nostalgia.


Recently, a perhaps-not-totally-reliable source informed us that Boston has the largest number of rock clubs/bars per square mile in the entire US of A. Not so hard to believe, considering the flood of e-mails, phone calls, and press releases that deluge our office on a daily basis. It would be hard to keep up, if we weren’t the nightlife vampires that we are. But we surrender to our fate of scouring every hidden hole in the city, just to find the coolest show or party that you can’t exist without. Tonight one of our all-time favorite local bands crashes sideways into the Middle East Upstairs (480 Mass Ave, Cambridge). The Stray Bullets will be plugging in with the power ska-punk that has made them one of the kids’ favorites. Bringing the night together from the bookends are Streetlight Manifesto and the Delegates. The doors open at 8:30, and you can buy your tickets for the almost-punk cost of $8. Check out for tickets.


From his humble beginnings as the Playboy Mansion Valet in Beverly Hills Cop II, Chris Rock has worked his way up to superstar status and his own critically acclaimed show on HBO. How has he done it? By pissing everyone off on his way up. Whether he’s attacking issues ranging from racial prejudice to the finer points of salad tossing, Rock tells it like it is, saying what no one else will dare to say, and leaving audiences clutching their sides with laughter. After making appearances across the nation over the past six weeks, he brings his in-your-face Black Ambition tour to our very own Orpheum Theatre (1 Hamilton Place, Boston) tonight with shows at 7 and 10. Leave your dignity at home, but remember to bring your tickets, which you can purchase at Ticketmaster for varying prices. Prepare to be Rocked.


The weekends are packed this month with evenings of magic and awe. Tonight the Theater Offensive celebrates its 15th anniversary with "ClimACTS: A Bacchanalian Carnival Gala." The celebrations and libations — all in honor of New England’s foremost gay-and-lesbian theater group — start up at the BCA’s Cyclorama (539 Tremont Street, Boston). The all-star evening features Peter Paige, Charles Busch, Paula Vogel, and more performances than you can shake a BuzzBoston-provided martini at. Visit for info and ticket prices; proceeds will benefit the TO.

If music is more your ideal Friday-night experience, you may want to check out the Middle East (480 Mass Ave, Cambridge) tonight at 8. A decade before Seattle became the grunge capital of the world, Kyuss re-envisioned stoner rock, and nearly two decades before Andrew W.K. marketed heavy metal as tongue-in-cheek party music, Boston had the Bags. So, maybe they could have picked a better name. But for ironic style, stoner substance, and blissfully overdriven wall-of-guitar rawk, they couldn’t be beaten. Literally. They actually won the Rumble in the late ’80s, and released what to this day remains an underground classic, 1987’s Rock Starve (Restless). It’s been far too long in coming, but guitarist Crispin Wood, bassist Jon Hardy, and one of the most Bonham-esque drummers this town’s ever produced, Jim Janota, are finally reuniting to run through the old Bags songbook. Tickets are $10; call ahead to (617) 864-EAST, ’cause they’re goin’ fast.


Yeah! Girls gettin’ it on! Yeah! Beer, cocktails, and girls gettin’ it on! Yeah! Bowling, air hockey, and girls gettin’ it on! Truth Serum Productions presents "Fiery February Part III: An Evening of Indie Porn Screenings and Performance." All we have to say is that the promoters are promising flicks containing "artfully crafted jerk-off videos," plus more wonderful and titillating surprises. How great is that? And who else would bring all this sex-a-liciousness to you but the Video Underground at the Milky Way (403 Center Street, Jamaica Plain). Tickets are $8, and the fun starts at 8. For more details, check out . It’s a BYOL event (bring your own lubricant, heh heh), and there’ll be girls gettin’ it on! Yeah!


Brian Wilson may not be able to make that old Pet Sounds magic anymore. But that’s okay, thanks to an Irish Brit (oxymoron?) by the name of Sean O’Hagan and his High Llamas. O’Hagan tends to get just as much press for his work as a de facto member of Stereolab, but the Llamas are his real love — his pet project, so to speak. Unabashed classic Beach Boys references of the intricately orchestrated variety are O’Hagan’s musical bread and butter. And he’ll be feeding it to his faithful all night at T.T. the Bear’s Place (10 Brookline Avenue, Cambridge) on a tour supporting the band’s two 2003 CDs, Beet, Maize & Corn and Retrospective: Rarities and Instrumentals (both on Drag City). Visit for your $10 tickets; doors are at 8:30, with PG Six opening.


No matter what your friends tell you, you’re not getting old. So what if all you want to do after a hard day is light some candles, run a hot bath, and throw on some Kenny G? Not that we have any idea who Kenny G is . . . Seriously, the greasy fried wings, snipe hunts, and keg stands of your younger days may not hold the same appeal as they used to, particularly with the onset of things like heartburn, hangovers, and hair thinning. So jump aboard the culture-and-sophistication train tonight and catch the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall (301 Mass Ave, Boston) performing works by Glazunov, Sibelius, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich, led by Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Fortunately, there’s no pronunciation test to get in. All you’ll need is a ticket ($26 and up) from the box office, which you can purchase by calling (617) 266-1200, or by visiting


Art, design, fashion — these are the trappings of a cultured society. Well, there’s also music, theater, gourmet food, literature, and stuff, but we already told you about that. Tonight Steven King Decorative Carpets hosts "An Artful Party" to benefit the Institute of Contemporary Art, featuring an exhibition of amazing watercolors and beautiful silken rugs and textiles, all handmade by Fort Street Studio. The opening party will be held at the Steven King Showroom (Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, South Boston). You must RSVP to join the cocktails-and-hors-d’oeuvres welcoming committee for this event, so call (617) 426-3302.


Most of us know Richard Dreyfuss as the marine biologist Matt Hooper in Jaws, the mashed-potatoes-sculpting Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or the tender high-school band teacher in Mr. Holland’s Opus. With the exception of a few poor choices along the way (cough, Krippendorf’s Tribe, cough), the guy’s had a pretty steady and accomplished career. And it’s far from over . . . in fact he’s alive, kicking, and apparently doing theater. Tonight and all week, catch him at the Shubert Theatre (265 Tremont Street, Boston) in a production of Sly Fox, a remake of the original 1976 Broadway smash hit. Set at the start of the San Francisco Gold Rush, the play features Dreyfuss and co-star Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction, Mask) as a devious duo out to steal from the rich and give to themselves. Sounds like a plan to us! Tickets are $21 and up, and are available by calling (800) 447-7400, or by visiting


Elvis Costello has always had a taste for drama, in both his songwriting and his personal life. But tonight’s performance at the Wang Center (270 Tremont Street, Boston) should be particularly high in drama, not just because the once-angry- young-man is bringing his long-time keyboardist Steve Nieve (of Costello’s old band the Attractions) and the Brodsky Quartet along for his neoclassical-crooner routine, but because of the gossip surrounding his engagement to the show’s opening act, jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall. Sparks are sure to fly, one way or another. The show starts at 8; tickets are $45–$65 at (800) 447-7400.


"Honey, call the babysitter." That’s what you’d be saying if you had to plan your Saturday nights around a couple of snot-nosed little brats. Luckily, you understand the two most important words in the English language: "condom" and "commitmentphobe." So you’re still happily unattached, and have the freedom to go out whenever you damn well please. That’s why tonight you’ll be heading over to the Regattabar (Charles Hotel, One Bennett Street, Cambridge) to hear the hip, bluesy Charles Mingus Big Band. Formed in 1991 to perpetuate the work of the legendary jazz composer and bassist, the 16-piece band has been working up its chops, performing weekly at the Fez for all the cats in New York City. Now, as part of the Charles Hotel’s 2004 Jazz Festival, the act comes to Cambridge tonight for two swinging shows at 7:30 and 10. You can’t go wrong with booze and blues, so call (617) 876-7777, or check out


Just because the holidays are spent doesn’t mean you should stop spending, especially when it’s all for a good cause. Terramia (98 Salem Street, Boston) and Antico Forno (93 Salem Street, Boston) join forces with Bricco (241 Hanover Street, Boston), Lucca (226 Hanover Street, Boston), and Prezza (24 Fleet Street, Boston) for the Second Annual City Feast: Dining for a Cure. All participating restaurants are featuring their own five-course menu with wine pairings for this one night only. How can you pick just one? Well, you’ll have to decide whose offerings stimulate your salivary glands the most. The $150 ticket price for each dinner goes to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. For more information, tickets, and tables, call the JDRF at (781) 431-0700.


What the hell is going on with the mad-dash karaoke comeback? In case you didn’t know, Monday is the only night to commit the center-stage sing-along sin. Sure, we’ve told you about Sundays at the Model Café and Tuesdays at the Milky Way Lounge and Lanes, not to mention pointing your cheesy singing ass in the direction of every Asian snakie hot spot from here to Kowloon. But tonight, you can stay closer to home. Recently under-fire Allstonians cuddle up to the mike at the Common Ground (85 Harvard Avenue, Allston), where a rash of dirty local rock stars belt out their favorite Prince tunes over cheap beers and shots. Call (617) 783-2071.


Issue Date: February 17 - March 1, 2004