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Nearly 250 bands return town to Porchfest: See ACMi video

See the ACMi video about Porchfest on June 18:

UPDATED June 24: Arlington Center for the Arts presented the return of Arlington Porchfest on Saturday, June 18, from noon to 6 p.m. -- the fourth such event and the first since 2019.

ACA logo

Since 2016, the event has been uniting live music with community participation in a daylong celebration of the arts in Arlington. Porchfest is a grass-roots music festival where bands play on front porches across town and people walk, bike or drive around to enjoy tons of free outdoor music, dancing and art.

This year’s event will present almost 250 porches, bands and exhibits for the community to visit across Arlington.

Tom Formicola, ACA’s executive director, said in a June 10 news release: “All of us at ACA are so excited to celebrate the return of Arlington Porchfest. And given the enthusiastic response we've gotten from the community -- it seems the feeling is mutual. From one end of town to the other, we are anticipating a joyful day of music and art. Everyone's invited to join the fun!”

Read more ...

1,000 dance Cajun at 'Garage Band' after Porchfest

Squeezebox Stompers perform after Porchfest, 2022.Dancing to the Squeezebox Stompers. / Tom Davison photo

For six hours on Saturday, June 18, more than 250 musical groups performed on or near porches throughout Arlington -- the fifth Arlington Center for the Arts' Porchfest since 2016.

Then for two more hours, "Garage Band" charged up residents young and old to dance to a mix of zydeco, Cajun, blues and roots played by the Squeezebox Stompers

Over the course of two hours of crowd-pleasing music, close to 1,000 revelers stopped by the Arlington Global Service Station at 334 Mass. Ave. to listen and dance to the veteran group of excellent musicians.

Billed as the Arlington Porchfest "after-party," the event was organized by the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) to close out a day in town filled with music. For information on upcoming events around town, visit

Asked how ACAC drew this band to town, Thomas Davison of Arlington said he worked with the band about 10 years ago for another event. "They are all seasoned musicians, many of whom have toured with some big-name acts," he wrote, "And a great bunch of guys to boot."

See more photos here >>

Read more ...

Bubblefest replaced canceled Porchfest

UPDATED, June 7:  AfterTom Formicola, executive director of Arlington Center for the Arts, said Porchfest 2020 was canceled because of the pandemic, Bubblefest was held Sunday, June 7, from noon to 6 p.m.

aca new

Bubblefest"Life inside a six-foot bubble can be lonely," the ACA says in announcement. "But bubbles are transparent. We can see out and find inspiration. Others can see in and feel inspired. Connecting the dots in these uncertain times is not impossible. It just requires more creativity."
Because the ACA cannot present Arlington Porchfest in these times of social distancing, you are challenged to create own your six-feet -- whether they be literal or metaphorical.

On June 7, you are invited to stake your claim in your living room, in your studio, on your porch, in your driveway, in a window, or anywhere you feel inspired to create and share your artform. Express yourself through music, dance, artwork, poetry or whatever. Do it for yourself first. And if in the process, you give inspiration to your neighbors, all the better.

Read more ...

4th Porchfest: 218 play at 128 venues

Bittersweet Band at Arlington Global Service Station. / Tom Davison video

UPDATED, June 11: How do you measure the power of music performed by 218 people from 128 porches of all sorts -- and at one colorful East Arlington gas station?

Perhaps thousands listened throughout the town on June 8, among them an estimated 700 at Arlington Global Service Station, many of whom danced to the funk of Bittersweet.

Read more ...

Broadway Plaza block rocks Center for a 4th time

Arlington Alive! Logo UPDATED, June 25: Arlington came alive with the fourth annual Summer Arts Block Party on Saturday, June 25, for a free, six-hour event in Arlington Center, at Broadway Plaza, that celebrates the arts in the community with live music, masked storytelling, artisan and craft booths, food vendors and special activities for children and families.

All events were free.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Arlington Center, visitors will hear an eclectic mix of live musical performances featuring ...

-- The swinging sounds of The Winniker Band,

-- Old-fashioned rock and roll with The Band That Time Forgot,

-- Funky jazz with TarBone

-- Bluegrass & Texas swing with The Bagboys

-- Smooth harmonies and pop hits with Aunt MimiThe WillStockings and The Saxyderms; and

-- Seyyide Dance.

Artisan booths display their creations at the Arts Promenade, featuring unique visual artists’ wares, including live pottery wheel-throwing demos, jewelry, photography, ceramics, crochet and ink painting.

Those involved offered exciting theater. The award-winning Behind The Mask Theatre (photo above) presented its show "Once Upon A Time" -- a pair of magical stories from the Brothers Grimm and Italo Calvino, performed in mask.

See also the Scotty & Max puppet show, arts-and-crafts tent, costume photo booth, Lego table, face-painting and more.

Hark to the Hobgoblin, laugh with foolish Arlecchino, understand the language of animals, battle Turkish pirates, as we enchant you into a wondrous world of rags to riches, the hero's quest, and true love lost and found.

Local kids from Kid Care Theatre will present "Fractured Fairy Tales" and relive the days of yore, of wit, wisdom and wise cracks.

Families enjoyed many fun activities at the festival: LEGO making, a dedicated arts and crafts tent, face-painting and a cool photo booth, to name a few.

The food pavilion included some of the finest restaurants in town, including Thana Thai, Menotomy Grill and Tavern, Common Ground and Andrina´s Pizzeria and Chilly Cow ice cream serving a wide array of delicious foods for purchase.

Off-street parking aws free at the Russell Commons Lot. This event was accessible via MBTA buses: 77, 79, 350 and 80.

For more information, visit or on Facebook >> 

This announcement was published Wednesday, June 1, 2016 and updated June 25.

EulipiaJazz Quartet: Jazz Night at artlounge

EulipiaJazz: 4 performers

The EulipiaJazz Quartet will perform at the artlounge Arlington, 1346 Mass. Ave., at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 3.

The Arlington-based quartet will present a program of jazz tunes from Swing, standards and bebop to Latin and Brazilian jazz.

All are invited to sketch, draw, write poetry or just enjoy the music.

Light fare and beer and wine are available. The music continues until 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the artLounge website or at the door.

The EulipiaJazz Quartet:

Scott Samenfeld – bass
Ethan K – guitar

Todd Brunel – clarinet and bass clarinet

Karen Gruber – congas and percussion

The evening involves a partnership between EulipiaJazz and the artlounge, which and offers paint nights and other events in Arlington Heights.

EulipiaJazz is a production company that supports improvisation and collaboration between artists across multiple disciplines in an effort to create a vibrant scene for great performances featuring local artists.

This announcement was published Thursday, May 21, 2015.

What's behind film fest's move to Kendall Square

Organizers plan to keep Arlington in name

UPDATED, Jan. 8: A successful international film festival, part of Arlington's goal to promote town tourism and culture, will be showing its edgy movies at Kendall Square next October, but its organizers will be retaining the town's name in the event's title as well as its connections here.

Alberto Guzman, Jan. 2, 2015"We are really grateful to have been at the Regent ... the home of the festival."
                                            -- Alberto Guzman

In separate interviews, a festival co-organizer described the effort to continue to link the films to Arlington, while the Regent Theatre's co-owner offered his side of the story.

At a noisy, crowded Kickstand on Friday, Jan. 2, J. Alberto Guzman, who with his wife, April Ranck, have operated the festival in town since 2011, told what led to the change of venue.

He put out both hands, his palms up and open. "It fell onto our plates," he said.

Howie Sandler, Kendall Cinema general manager, reached out just after the 2014 festival ended in October, he said, noting he had approached a number of festivals and thought the Arlington International Film Fest (AIFF) would be a good fit for his patrons.

The deal took about seven weeks to cement. "I spoke with so many," Guzman said. 

Under the new arrangement, Kendall Square Cinema, owned by Landmark Theatres, a national chain, plans to charge the same rent the Regent did, but the festival will have eight days instead of five, Guzman said. The festival dates are Oct. 15 through 22 (Thursday through Thursday).

Available to Kendall festivalgoers will be the 24-hour next-door parking garage, which charges $3 a car. Kendall Cinema is to provide promotion via social media (Facebook, Twitter and a Kendall newsletter) as well as on a large poster at the front of the East Cambridge theater.

"We're so excited to have this partnership," Guzman said, smiling broadly, his words imparting his native Colombia.

As for the Regent, he said the four-year relationship worked for both sides. "We are really grateful to have been at the Regent,"he said. "We felt the people in town embraced us .... the Regent was the home of the festival."

Decision made about mid-December

No more. The decision to switch was made about mid-December, Guzman said.

Stein said in a telephone interview and subsequent emails that he learned about the changes at a meeting Sunday, Dec. 21. The other owner, Richard Stavros, did not attend.

"They told me about their decision to move to the Kendall," he said. "It appeared to be a foregone conclusion since there was no discussion then or previously about not returning to the Regent for a fifth year."

Asked about their reactions to this news, Guzman said, "He was sad; I was sad, too."

Stein said he remained cordial but felt surprise.

Regent logo"We will miss hosting the AIFF as one of our regular, traditional annual events, but -- given the significant number of rental inquiries I get, together with our own Regent-produced events -- I don't anticipate a problem finding something else to present during those dates in October."
       -- Leland Stein

YourArlington asked Stein: Had Guzman told you about the Kendall move before it was a done deal and as a matter of negotiation, would you have continued discussions with him?

His response: "Yes, sure."

Loss of business?

Asked about the loss of the business, he wrote:"We will miss hosting the AIFF as one of our regular, traditional annual events, but -- given the significant number of rental inquiries I get, together with our own Regent-produced events -- I don't anticipate a problem finding something else to present during those dates in October."

Both Stein and Guzman declined to say what weekly rent the festival paid.

Asked whether last October's attendance could have been an issue, Guzman said it dropped 2 percent.

Stein disputed Guzman's account that the Regent did not provide social media. He said it promoted the festival through Facebook, Twitter and its email list.

"We felt that we had a very good working relationship with the festival and had done our part in helping them get established and recognized within the town," Stein said. "They brought something unique and fitting for the Regent, our audience, and the community -- and for that they will be missed."

The news about the Kendall move came as a surprise to two people list on the festival's website as members of its advisory board. They were Stein and Arlington resident Walter Locke, who formerly performed outreach for ACMi.

Asked to comment, Guzman said in an email Jan. 4 that those listed as AIFF advisers on the website are "are consultants/advisors on film related issues and or concerns only.

"We have an inner circle of people that have expertise in various business and organizational areas that we are privileged to be able to consult with. Moving the festival to the Kendall Square Cinema was certainly a decision that was weighed very carefully and was discussed at length with many people."

How to keep the Arlington connection?

Those who attended previous festivals and saw such arresting films as those shown last October or witnessed the workshops at Arlington High with Winfred Rembert, whose painful life was captured in film -- may want to know how the organizers plan to keep the Arlington connection.

Asked about that, Guzman provided these answers:

-- The contest challenging students to create a poster that becomes the festival's face has branched out to other high schools, but the celebration of its winner, in February, will remain in town;

-- The festival will continue to be a partner for the midsummer block party, held the last two Julys at Broadway Plaza;

-- The festival will still be a sponsor of the Arlington Teen Video Contest, this March;

-- The organizers will be involved in a fund-raising event for the Friends of the Library, with details yet to be worked out;

-- The kickoff for next fall's festival is expected to be held in September at the Regent or Town Hall;

-- ACMi will continue to be a partner through its Short Animation Film Festival (the second annual event was held last August at Robbins Farm); and

-- The Arlington Tourism & Economic Development Committee (A-TED) is expected to continue.

"It's not about us -- it's about community," Guzman said.

Asked Jan. 3 about the festival's moving its films to Kendall Square, Angela Olszewski, co-chair of A-TED, wrote Jan. 7 that she was putting this topic on a future agenda so the committee can discuss it. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 28. The town website's calendar does not list this meeting. 

Poster contest expands opportunities: Deadline Jan. 18

Jan. 2, 2014: 2015 film festival moving from Arlington to Cambridge
Sept. 30, 2014: Films, dreams and economic possibility in Arlington: A look behind the screen

This story was published Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, and updated Jan. 8.


2015 film festival moving from Arlington to Cambridge

21012 AIFF logo

Organizers of the Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) have announced that the fifth annual event next October will be held at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. Since 2011, the festival has been held at Arlington's Regent Theatre.

"AIFF is extremely excited to partner with the Kendall Square Cinema for this year’s festival," April Ranck, the festival's executive director, said in a year-end news release. "Our growth has been evidenced with the number and quality of film submissions and with our audience.

"Moving the Festival into Cambridge, a more central location, we hope to draw from the Boston/Cambridge audience as well as our loyal supporters from Arlington and neighboring towns. Kendall Square Cinema is a class of theaters that we think is a good fit for AIFF. We are looking forward to working with Howie Sandler, the general manager and his skilled and competent team."

Sandler said in the release: "The Arlington International Film Festival screens quality independent films that are in keeping with what we program at the Kendall. I’m very excited and looking forward to this year’s Festival at the Kendall Square Cinema."

Landmark Theatres, the parent company of Kendall Square Cinema, is the largest U.S. theater chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent and foreign films.

Ranck added in the release: "Last year was a tremendous success for us and we look forward to offering our quality films to an even larger audience in 2015."

The release noted that the festivals' "cumulative growth over its four years of production. The number of participating filmmakers, local, national and international independent filmmakers has increased, and along with the number of increased submissions, we have received amazing professional films, many that are now being recognized worldwide."

Official selections by the AIFF Jury in 2014 are three films that have since been nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary. They are "Botso: The Teacher from Tbilisi" by Tom Walters, "Elena" by Petra Costa and "Documented" by Jose Antonio Vargas.

The festival was founded by J. Alberto Guzman and Ranck. They have been asked for further comment.

Poster contest expands opportunities: Deadline Jan. 18

This story was published Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

Arlington rocks around the block, draws 1,200 in midsummer

Arlington Alive! Logo

UPDATED, July 17: An estimated 1,200 people turned out for the second annual Arlington Alive block party and Regent Theatre events on Saturday, July 12.

You know an event is maturing when a politician shows up, and Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat who is running for governor, spoke on the outskirts of the gathering.

The event was sponsored by the Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee (ATED) and town businesses, including See all sponsors here >>

"It went pretty well given that a lot of folks are away this time of year," said Roly Chaput, who staffed ATED's booth.

An afternoon's bright sun drove many in search of shade, and they found it among the monuments next to an under-construction Central Firehouse.

By 1:30 p.m., the Band That Time Forgot turned back the clock 44 or more years with a pulsing "Woodstock" (CSN&Y), "Purple Haze" (Jimi Hendrix) and "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum). They played where cars usually fight for spaces in Broadway Plaza.

You could get a bite to eat -- Argentine cuisine from Tango, Indian from Punjab and downright American from Menotomy Grill.

Or visit a variety of booths, a kind or preview of Town Day two months early. Represented were the Regent Theatre; ACMi, the cable-TV studio; the Arlington Center for the Arts and the Book Rack.

Others with booths were Sun Run Home Solar, PSG Photo Solutions, the Capitol Square Business Association and Brigham Square, the apartments near Shattuck's and the bikeway.

Jewelry and artwork was for sale, as was hope, promoted by Margy Rydzinski, who has operated Arlington Entrepreneurs since 2008.

Among the best attended booth was Play Time's, on the American Alarm lot across the street from the business itself, where kids crowded over crafts.

For a complete list of the vendors and others, click here >>

Walking away, I heard a new music group introduced. The Hardy Boys weighed in with Joe Cocker's "Feeling Alright."

That was the mood.

Arts schedule: Summer to OctoberIn addition to the Summer Arts Block Party, Arlington Alive is excited to share and promote the following selection of arts and cultural events in the community this summer:

Robbins Library Summer Concert Series: Ben Rudnick and Friends
July 17

Chairful Where You Sit public art exhibit and auction July 18–20

Robbins Library Summer Concert Series: Liz Buchanan and Friends
July 22

Robbins Library Summer Concert Series: Jeremy Lyons' Delta-Silly Music
July 29

Robbins Library Summer Concert Series: Ethan Rossiter and the Jamberries
Family Concert
Aug. 14

Arlington Chamber of Commerce Summer Concerts on the Green:
4EverFab, Beatles tribute band
Aug. 20

Robbins Library Summer Concert Series: Matt Heaton and the Outside Toys Sept. 4

Arlington Town Day
Sept. 13

Arlington International Film Festival
Oct. 15-19

For more information and a full listing of events, visit

Arlington Alive came into being via public discussion that culminated in a workshop in June 2012. It came alive with a block party last July.

This story was published Thursday, May 15, 2014, and updated July 17 to add photos.

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