With more than 100 activities, including ship tours, arts and crafts fairs, live performances, movie screenings, food events, a pre-Fourth fireworks show, historical tours and more, this festival ought to have something for everyone. It’d be a great way for newcomers to experience some quintessentially Bostonian stuff, and for long-timers to remember why they call this the Hub of the Universe.
Various locations, Boston
Prices vary, bostonharborfest.com
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
July 4th is kind of a big deal in the city where the Revolution started, and this annual celebration on the Charles River is ground zero. People show up very early to get a spot on the lawn, but there are plenty of other places where you can get a good view of the fireworks show, which starts at 10:30.
July 4, 8 p.m.
Hatch Memorial Shell
47 David G. Mugar Way, Boston
Chinatown Main Streets Festival
Everyone’s celebrating America this weekend, but there are lots of Americas, of course—here’s an opportunity to celebrate Chinese America. The Chinatown Main Street festival includes performances of martial arts, lion dancing and Chinese folk dance, vendors of all sorts—if some of the shops in this neighborhood are any indication, we really mean all sorts—plus games and other delights.
July 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Beach St. and Surface Rd., Boston
The Sounds of Silents: Metropolis
Fritz Lang’s legendary 1927 film “Metropolis” is a visually stunning early science fiction masterpiece — so captivating and strange, even in today’s CGI-addled cinematic milieu, that it’s almost easy to miss that fact that its (long) narrative amounts to an impassioned plea for socialism. The versatile, ingenious local trio Alloy Orchestra will perform a live soundtrack, enhancing the experience even further.
July 7, 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater
290 Harvard St., Brookline
Much imitated, but never quite duplicated, Steven Speilberg’s “Jaws” became the quintessential summer blockbuster when it was released in 1975. The psychoanalytic thinker Slavoj Zizek has suggested that the shark can represent any threat to society — terrorism, global warming, Zika, etc — and the film’s power lies in this symbolic blankness. Perhaps, but, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a shark is just a shark.
July 4, noon and 8 p.m.
40 Brattle St., Cambridge
You never know quite what you’ll get at this evening of confessional comedy, but the premise is simple enough: adults reading from their adolescent diaries, and other artifacts of awkward love, silly angst and questionable priorities. The performers are a mix of professionals and amateurs, but when it comes to the struggles of the teenage years, we’re all equally embarrassing.
July 10 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
2 Arrow St., Cambridge
This annual July 4th comedy blowout at ImprovBoston has sold out for the last two years, so we suggest getting advance tickets if you want in on this evening of sketch and musical performance. Masterminds Allen McRae and Kevin Quigley, promise “to create a show as awesome, absurd, smart and idiotic as the actual good old US of A."
40 Prospect St., Cambridge
All the artists in this sculpture show are from Asian cities categorized as “megacities”—having a population of 10 million or more, and their works convey a sense of mass: mass consumption, mass transit, mass production, mass migration. The exhibits are spread throughout the museum, mirroing the way cities, like Mumbai, Beijing, Seoul and Shanghai, are spread across Asia.
Through July 17
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave., Boston
Fiddlehead Theater Company presents this pioneering 1927 musical, which explores the social world of the patrons and crew of a Mississippi River show boat. It’s rare to hear the name “Hammerstein” without “Rogers”, but here the famous lyricist was working with Jerome Kern. The show’s progressive confrontation with racism was bold in the era of Al Jolson and his ilk.
265 Tremont St., Boston
Unreliable Narrator presents a pair of one act plays by Carl Danielson, exploring the dark sides of religion and atheism, respectively. In “Jesusness,” it seems that Christ has returned to usher in the end of the world… but is it really Him? In “Hellancholy,” an atheist TV producer finds herself haunted by a lingering belief in God.
Friday through July 9
Boston Playwrights’ Theater
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
Black Mountain is one of a handful of contemporary indie bands who modernize the space rock and hard rock feel of the 70’s, with monster guitar riffs and solos, and plenty of spacey keyboards, moving between big jams and slower, spookier numbers. Their most recent album’s numerical title, “IV” seems to evoke Led Zeppelin—or maybe it’s a medical pun.
July 2, 8 p.m.
52 Church St., Cambridge
$18-$20, 18+, ticketmaster.com
When you think reggae you probably don’t think of the nation of Chile, but that’s Gondwana’s home. Active since 1987, they’re Latin America’s preeminent reggae act, with a fan base so devoted that they haven’t needed a record label in recent years. Their super mellow vibe is reverent to the Jamaican tradition while possessing a decidedly Latino feel.
July 2, 8 p.m.
Middle East Downstairs
480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$20-$30, 18+, ticketweb.com